VOICES

William C. Baldwin, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in military history from the University of Michigan. After teaching at the University of Kentucky, he became the historian for the U.S. Army Engineer Studies Center in 1980. In 1983 he joined the Historical Division (now the Office of History), Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. His primary focus was the World War II and Cold War military activities of the Corps of Engineers, including the history of military family housing and housing privatization. Recently he has also been studying the early-19th-Century "Third System" of coastal fortifications. His publications include The Engineer Studies Center and Army Analysis: A History of the U.S. Army Engineers Studies Center, 1973-1982 (Fort Belvoir, Va.: Engineer Studies Center, 1985) and "Aviation and Amphibian Engineers in the Southwest Pacific" and "Engineers in the Battle of the Bulge" in Barry W. Fowle, ed., Builders and Fighters: U.S. Army Engineers in World War II (Fort Belvoir, Va.: Office of History, 1992). He was the interviewer and editor of Engineer Memoirs: Lieutenant General John W. Morris (Alexandria, Va.: Office of History, 2000) and Engineer Memoirs: Major GeneralRichard S. Kem (Alexandria, Va.: Office of History, 2002). His study of Army housing privatization is available online: "Four Privatization Programs: A History of the Wherry, Capehart, Section 801, and Section 802 Housing Privatization Programs in the Army," found at www.acq.osd.mil/housing/four.htm (original page offline).

 

Michael C. Groeneveld initially came to Fort Belvoir in March 1973 as a brand new second lieutenant, to attend the Engineer Officer Basic Course.  This was followed by three years of active duty in Germany. Mr. Groeneveld then returned to Fort Belvoir in both 1978 and 1979 for two-week Army Reserve tours with the Directorate of Facilities and Engineering. His next Fort Belvoir experience occurred from March 1985 to April 1986, when he served as Reserve Advisor to the Engineer Officer Advanced Course, Directorate of Military Engineering.

Mr. Groeneveld was employed as a Department of the Army civilian employee, in May 1986. Working for the Directorate of Combat Development, he served as the Combat Developer for bridging systems, a position he retained until the Engineer School was relocated to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in 1988.

Not wanting to move to Missouri, Mr. Groeneveld transferred to the Directorate of Engineering and Housing, as the Planning Engineer in the Facility Planning Division, a position which he currently holds.  Primary responsibilities include the Military Construction (MILCON) program on Fort Belvoir.  He is involved in projects from conception, through programming, design, construction, to the final acceptance inspection.  Not limited to MILCON projects, Mr. Groeneveld is also involved in all major construction projects on post, including Fairfax County schools, Virginia Department of Transportation roads, and National Guard facilities.

Mr. Groeneveld has been directly involved with all previous Fort Belvoir Base Closure programs (1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995), and is now participating in the largest Base Closure program in the country. He enjoys the variety of experiences offered through his involvement at Fort Belvoir and considers every day a new challenge.

 

Brian Michael Lione is the Deputy Federal Preservation Officer for the Department of Defense, in Arlington, Va. At DoD, Mr. Lione provides technical and policy oversight to the overall DoD Cultural Resources Management Program. Prior to his current role, Brian supported the DoD team as the Cultural Resources Management Specialist for the DoD Legacy Resource Management Program, worked as the cultural resources manager at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, and served on the cultural resources staff at Fort Bragg, N.C.  He served eight years in Military Intelligence in both the active and reserve Army and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in historic preservation.

 

Derek Manning has worked as a civilian Historic Preservation Specialist at Fort Belvoir since 2005. Before that, he served in a similar capacity at Fort Lewis and as Visitor Services Manager, 2001-2002, at Old South Meeting House Museum. While in Boston, he worked on the staff of the Paul Revere House Museum (1996-1998) and as a Park Ranger assigned to the National Park Service, Boston National Historical Park (1997). Mr. Manning staffed the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, 1998 - 2001. He earned a B.A. in U.S. History in 1996 from the University of Colorado and expects to receive an M.A. in Historic Preservation from Goucher College, December 2007.

 

Growing up in the military, John K. Strang had the opportunity to experience Fort Belvoir's family housing first hand. As a current employee of the base, John is a valuable resource. A summary of his experiences follows:

John Strang was born in Oxford, England, in 1951, while his father was stationed in Upper Hereford outside of Oxford. His family first came back to the States in 1957 when they were posted to Fort Belvoir and lived in Grays Hill Village and then in Lewis Heights.

 

My first memories of Fort Belvoir were of Lewis Heights. At that time Fort Belvoir was the Engineer School, and most of our neighbors belonged to Engineer Companies or to the School. Lewis Heights was apartment living, with open courts in the front. There was no air conditioning, so at night everybody would be outside socializing or playing games. Christmas was always great because we would go to Building 219, which used to be the main Post Exchange and Movie Theater, to watch Santa Clause land on Pullen Field in his helicopter.

In 1959, at age eight, John moved with his family into Dogue Creek. This was before the roads and sidewalks had been completed. The family lived in 914-H, a two-bedroom townhouse surrounded by woods and the Potomac River. John has very positive memories from this time.

 

As a child this was a great place to live. Many times my friends and I tried to build rafts to sail on the Potomac. One year a group of us built a tree fort behind one of quarters, unfortunately we made the mistake of building the fort in a patch of poison ivy and spent the rest of the summer pink from calamine lotion. An advantage, from a parent's stand point, was that everyone knew each other; if a child did anything wrong, they could be assured that their mother would know about it before they arrived home.

In 1962, John's father received orders for Fort Richardson, located outside Anchorage, Alaska. However, the family returned to Fort Belvoir in 1965. This time they only stayed on post for a short time, his father received orders for Vietnam. In 1966, when his father returned from Vietnam, the family was sent to Germany. They stayed in Germany for three years, with John spending the majority of his high school at Munchen American High School, having a great time. The family was moved to El Paso, Texas, in 1969. John recalls that the transition from the Bavarian Alps to the plains of Texas as "a real let down."  

In 1970, after completing high school in Texas, John returned to Virginia and enrolled in Northern Virginia Community College. He was employed at Fort Belvoir's Officers' Club at this time. The next year, while attending college, John won his only lottery: the Draft. Not wishing to go into the Army, he entered the Navy and volunteered for submarine duty, spending four years at the bottom of the oceans of the world.

After being honorably discharged from the Navy, in 1975, John returned home to Woodbridge, Va. At this point his mother was working in Fort Belvoir's Airline Ticket Office. John received an apprenticeship at Fort Belvoir, working in the Plumbing and Steam fitting shop. "This was a great experience, most of my co-workers were veterans and took pride in their work." After four years in the plumbing shop John earned his Journeymen's License as a plumber. By 1987 John had earned a Masters License as a plumber and was promoted to gas fitter, a job which included oversight of Fort Belvoir's Natural Gas Lines, Aviation Fuels, Fuel Oil, and Bulk Oil distribution. When the shops were privatized in 1988, John transferred to the Engineer Plans and Services office as a Mechanical Engineer Tech for the Department of Public Works.   

John began working in the Army Family Housing as an Engineer Tech in 1989. He recalls the challenges associated with attempting to keep the occupants happy and to fulfill their needs. He also worked on MILCON projects for the renovation of Lewis Heights and Dogue Creek Villages, along with upgrades to kitchens, bathrooms, and electrical upgrades for various quarters on post. Responsibilities included supplying self-help materials to occupants on topics ranging from storage sheds to patio blocks, enabling residents to perform improvements to their quarters, a job which involved driving the truck and fork-lift to deliver self-help items. He recalls that, although the budget for his office was small, they were still able to provide services to all of the soldiers and their families, regardless of their rank.

In 2003, the housing office was privatized, and John moved into the Residential Communities Liaison Office (RCLO). John continues to be associated with Fort Belvoir's family housing in this capacity. His basic duties include quality control for all new housing (new construction) and reviewing plans for proposed construction.

 

William C. Baldwin

Belvoir Village's reputation as a great neighborhood:
William C. Baldwin

No longer remotely located:
William C. Baldwin

Congress' unrealistic expectations for Wherry housing:
William C. Baldwin

Transition from Wherry to Capehart housing:
William C. Baldwin

Wherry-Capehart following national housing trends:
William C. Baldwin
Military housing similar to civilian:
William C. Baldwin
The Army's use of standardized plans:
William C. Baldwin
History of housing after WWII to today:
William C. Baldwin
Physical separation by race and gender:
William C. Baldwin

Michael Groeneveld

Diversity at Fort Belvoir:
Michael Groeneveld
History of the 400 Area:
Michael Groeneveld

Civilian housing:
Michael Groeneveld

Demolition of Grays Hill Village:
Michael Groeneveld

Memories of the area around Youngs Village:
Michael Groeneveld

Wherry-Capehart meet the need for family housing:
Michael Groeneveld

Housing at Woodlawn:
Michael Groeneveld

The area before Fort Belvoir:
Michael Groeneveld
Self-sufficiency before WWII: Michael Groeneveld
Early post infrastructure: Michael Groeneveld

Fort Belvoir is no longer self-contained:
Michael Groeneveld

Fort Belvoir retains historic integrity while continuing to develop:
Michael Groeneveld

On-post amenities:
Michael Groeneveld

Changes in post life and Gen. society:
Michael Groeneveld

The current make-up of residents at Fort Belvoir:
Michael Groeneveld

Brian Lione

Being part of the military community: Brian Lione

Architectural integrity remains at Fort Belvoir:
Brian Lione

Pre-fab building for WWI:
Brian Lione

Portable buildings provide quick housing: Brian Lione

Military mass production and post-war civilian housing: Brian Lione

Grays Hill Village housing included civilian labor:
Brian Lione

Post-WWII standardization:
Brian Lione

The design of Rossell Loop Village: Brian Lione
Wherry-Capehart as a success: Brian Lione
National patterns in post construction: Brian Lione
Fort Belvoir designed and constructed by engineers:
Brian Lione
Rank and post planning: Brian Lione
Good design of WWII temporary construction:
Briane Lione
Evolution of Fort Belvoir reflected in buildings:
Brian Lione
A sense of place:
Brian Lione
Fort Belvoir as a model for the future:
Brian Lione

Derek Manning

Army provides for its own: Derek Manning

The "aesthetic" of Gerber Village: Derek Manning

Belvoir Village in its historic context: Derek Manning

Post-WWII military construction:
Derek Manning

History of Thermo-Con House: Derek Manning

Why Thermo-Con House is at Fort Belvoir:
Derek Manning
Thermo-Con House today: Derek Manning
Development of standardized plans:
Derek Manning
Wherry-Capehart compared to RCI: Derek Manning
Standardized architectural styles: Derek Manning
Housing reflects hierarchy of rank: Derek Manning
Strong sense of community:
Derek Manning
How quickly a sense of community is formed:
Derek Manning
Evolution of family housing: Derek Manning
Segregation at Fort Belvoir: Derek Manning

John Strang

Fort Belvoir housing as an asset: John Strang
Growing up in Lewis Heights: John Strang
Gardening and self-sufficiency: John Strang
Fewer enlisted men on post: John Strang

The sense of neighborhood:
John Strang

Moving and furnishings at Dogue Creek Village:
John Strang
When Dogue Creek Village was brand new:
John Strang

Furnishings provided:
John Strang

Lewis Heights furnishings:
John Strang
The once-remote Fort Belvoir: John Strang
Children playing on Fort Belvoir: John Strang
The post bus system:
John Strang
Division of ranks, afternoon tea: John Strang

Growing up on post in a more innocent time:
John Strang

Shopping off-post:
John Strang
The small-town feeling of life on post:
John Strang
Support network:
John Strang

Fort Belvoir Residential Communities LLC • administrator@fortbelvoirhousinghistory.com