Fort Campbell is on a mission to make barracks living the best it can be, and units across the installation are taking the initiative to push that effort forward.
Dozens of Soldiers took on Enterprise Military Housing, or eMH, training over the holiday season, learning the ins and outs of the Department of Defense’s barracks management system at one of the highest participation rates since classes began in 2018.
“Seeing the engagement from the units makes you feel good because you know we’re not doing this for naught,” said Mark Herndon, chief of Unaccompanied Soldier Housing, Single Soldier Housing and the Army Barracks Management Program, Directorate of Public Works. “What we’re doing is beginning to take hold, it’s a positive approach and we have units that are stepping up and understanding what they have to do.”
ABMP hosts at least three eMH classes a month: Two for commanders and first sergeants, one for barracks managers and additional classes as needed. The program normally sees eight to 10 barracks managers and three to six commanders per class, but over the holidays Herndon said there were 10-12 Soldiers in each session.
Having a high turnout is important because DoD requires two Soldiers per company level to be trained on the system, which allows users to manage room assignments, terminations, inspections, work orders and more.
“The more people that truly understand what’s required in the barracks and how they’re managed, the more it ultimately benefits that Soldier who lives in the room,” Herndon said. “For instance, we can switch out a refrigerator or any piece of furniture in an hour or so if they know what they’re doing and have all the processes in place, but if they don’t, they’ll spend a day running around.”
Staff Sergeant Daniel Lockamy, the ABMP representative for 426th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), completed eMH training in July 2021 and credits the class with setting him up for success.
“Before I went into the training I knew a little bit about the barracks, but this class opened my eyes to all types of things related to facilities, work orders and anything that could lead to problems,” Lockamy said. “It showed me the areas I need to focus on, and that’s really helped me get to where I am today as far as managing the barracks and having support from the housing office.”
During the training, Soldiers learn about Army housing in general, how to access and use eMH and what their responsibilities are as residents move in or out of the barracks. They also cover the Army Maintenance Application, or ArMA, which is used to submit work orders to DPW.
“It’s important for Soldiers to take these classes because it covers all aspects of barracks management and how to maintain them,” Lockamy said. “And it links to ArMA because if there’s a facility issue, you can’t resolve it without the ability to submit workorders through ArMA.”
ArMA was designed to streamline each installation’s work order process by directly connecting Soldiers and civilian employees to service technicians. Bastogne Soldiers were among the first to test the application in December 2020, and it was fully implemented across the installation in October 2021.
Users can access ArMA through the Digital Garrison App or via an online registration portal at https://www.armymaintenance.com/arma using a common access card. Lockamy helps Soldiers set up their ArMA accounts as they move into 426th BSB’s barracks, which helps them take charge of their experience and improve living conditions.
“There’s been a big push for quality of life in the barracks since the new division leadership took over,” Herndon said. “They promote and push it constantly and reiterate command responsibility and individual responsibility in the barracks.”
Encouraging units to sign up for eMH training is an important part of that, and the ABMP sends class schedules up each chain of command six months in advance so Soldiers can schedule a time.
The class for commanders and first sergeants lasts roughly three hours, while barracks managers can expect to spend six to seven hours since they will be using the eMH system daily. Herndon said that time investment can yield significant returns for Soldiers across the installation.
“To me, barracks management, barracks life and quality of life are combat multipliers,” he said. “We have the full gamut of barracks buildings from five years to 40 years old, but our goal is to provide the best experience we can because if you keep a Soldier happy in the barracks then you’re going to make them a happy Soldier the next day.”