AFAP delegates hammer out issues

If you’ve ever tried to change your Army Post Office address through the U.S. Postal Service Web site, you know you can’t. 

Want to order a Macintosh computer from the Apple Online Store or curtains from Overstock and have them mailed to your APO address? Ditto.

Delegates at the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart 2010 Army Family Action Plan conference feel your pain.

That’s why the lack of global acceptance of APO addresses was one of 12 issues presented for resolution to USAG Stuttgart leadership during the conference, held Feb. 25-26 in the Swabian Special Events Center on Patch Barracks.

AFAP allows members of the Stuttgart community the opportunity to voice concerns and issues to installation, Army and even Defense Department leadership.

Issues are solicited from across the community. At the conference, delegates examine the issues, recommend resolutions and determine which issues they consider the most important to the welfare of the community.

“We’re going to take these issues, and over the next several months, meet with Col. Pastore [the USAG Stuttgart commander] and subject matter experts to see what we can do locally to resolve any part of the issue,” said Lisa Ordukaya, the USAG Stuttgart AFAP program manager.

“Then, we will work on sending the issues further up the chain. Our goal is to get the issues pushed up as far as we can take them,” she said.

While AFAP is an Army program, many times the results are advantageous to all military members.

“There are a lot of changes that have come out of AFAP that don’t just benefit the Army, but all the services,” said Ordukaya.

She offered up the Post 9-11 GI Bill as an example. “That’s a huge thing that came out of AFAP and impacted all military folks,” she said.

Because Stuttgart is a joint services environment, conference delegates are selected to reflect the demographics of the community.

“There’s a cross mix of every branch, every rank, active duty and reserve,” said Ordukaya. Family members, youth, civilian employees and retirees are also included, she added.

Marine Sgt. Lydia Davey was a first-time delegate this year. Not sure what to expect, she anticipated the conference would be “death by Powerpoint.”

She was wrong. “I didn’t expect it to be as interactive, interesting and as relevant as it was. I was surprised at the passion people carried into the room,” she said. “It was a positive experience.”

Bob Williams, an operations research analyst with U.S. Africa Command who has participated in other installations’ AFAP conferences in the past, seconded that opinion. “The people here are very interested in seeing that issues for the Army and joint services are carried forward to the decision makers.

“It’s a meaningful process that will bring a lot of good not only to Stuttgart, but to the services, as well,” he said.