Having reached the half-way point in her two-year tour, the garrison commander of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall says she is working hard to foster ongoing collaboration between the military base and the Arlington community.
“We can learn from each other. We all have such a deep history together,” U.S. Army Col. Kimberly Peeples said at the annual banquet of the Arlington County Civic Federation, held April 5 on the military base.
Peeples is the 105th garrison commander, and third female commander, since the base was founded as Fort Whipple during the Civil War. The base is home to the U.S. Army Band, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) and a host of the nation’s most senior military personnel. It also provides security for the adjacent Arlington National Cemetery.
“It’s just a great assignment,” she said. “I just love this deep history – I am very aware of this history every single day.”
Peeple’s bailiwick includes the grounds of Fort Myer, adjoining Henderson Hall and (in the District of Columbia) Fort McNair. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is the only combined Army and Marine Corps base in the U.S. military.
At the Civic Federation event, Peeples noted that efforts are close to fruition to make accessing the base easier for those without Department of Defense clearance. She said local residents are always welcomed, whether they come to a twilight tattoo performance by the U.S. Army Band, to a luncheon or dinner, or to visit the military horses housed at the base’s caisson.
“I see us as America’s post – our job is to show America what it’s like to be military. We want you to know about it and come,” said Peeples, a military engineer and graduate of the United States Military Academy, U.S. Army War College and University of Washington. She has commanded the U.S. Army garrison in Carlisle, Pa., and has been deployed overseas to Iraq and Bosnia, and for four years served in the White House Military Office.
Since the terrorist attacks of 2001, military installations in the Washington area have worked to collaborate with local jurisdictions on a variety of planning exercises.
“We take great pride in being a good neighbor – we love the great working relationships we’ve had,” said Peeples, who, like most recent commanders at the base, will rotate to her next assignment in the spring of 2020.
Duke Banks, president of the Civic Federation, said holding the annual banquet on the base was a reminder that member organizations of the federation (founded in 1916) have many common interests with the military facilities in the community.
“For over a hundred years, our histories have been intertwined,” Banks said.