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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2014  10:54:06 AM

Family Readiness Groups: Emphasize importance of Family support

Email   Print   Share By Brig. Gen. Clark LeMasters Jr., 13th SC(E) Commanding General
March 27, 2014 | Editorial
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Brig. Gen. Clark LeMasters Jr., 13th SC(E) Commanding General
Earlier this year, the Chief of Staff of the Army republished his vision and strategic priorities in the form of WayPoint No. 2.

In this document, Gen. Raymond Odierno restated a critical theme, “The strength of our Nation is our Army. The strength of our Army is our Soldiers. The strength of our Soldiers is our Families. This is what makes us Army Strong!” In four concise sentences, the CSA effectively relayed his intent to all of us and stratified the importance of our Families to our Army. The cornerstone for support to our Families and Soldiers are Family Readiness Groups.

Most of you have heard about the “FRG;” you have seen the flyers, heard your leaders talk about FRG meetings and activities for your Families. The FRG must be more than just a meeting we encourage Soldiers and Families to attend. The FRG must be the foundation of outreach to our Families.

Whether you are a new Soldier or Family member gearing up for his or her first deployment or a seasoned veteran preparing for a long training event, the FRG is an essential tool to support you and your loved ones. The FRG fosters a sense of belonging to the unit and provides a forum for Families to develop friendships while they gain information about the unit and community.

When a Soldier knows his Family is taken care of, he or she can then focus on their mission and not worry as much about the home front.

Remember, your mission can be in Afghanistan, the National Training Center, or a live fire range at Fort Hood. Family issues can arise at any moment, so a strong FRG is important at all times; not just during nine-month deployments. You and your Family’s involvement in the FRG is what makes them successful.

At the forefront of any successful FRG program is the Family Readiness Support Assistant. The FRSA assists the unit commander in the implementation of the unit’s FRG program, and every battalion-level unit and higher has an FRSA assigned. The FRSA can assist Family members with any challenge or provide referrals to outside agencies. The FRSA should be your “go to” person for both Families and Soldiers on matters of Family readiness.

Unit commanders must include the FRSA into all Family support planning and provide the necessary support to the FRSA to insure success of your unit programs. FRSAs must be willing to approach the chain of command and never hesitate to bring up issues or concerns they encounter. Find your FRSA and put them on speed dial. They can help you and your Family in many ways.

You can’t talk about building Family readiness without spending some time on resiliency. Resiliency is what makes us strong during periods of increased operational tempo, and our FRGs can be the first step in ensuring that Families are as resilient as our Soldiers.

I encourage unit commanders to use the FRG meetings and newsletters to introduce the many resiliency resources available at the Great Place. Check out the “Ready and Resilient” button on top of the Fort Hood Web page, or go directly to www.hood.army.mil/Resilient.aspx.

The FRSA is not the only member of your team that can add value to your FRG and Family readiness program.

Make sure your Families know about the Military Family Life Consultants and your unit chaplains; introduce them at your FRG meetings and invite the MFLCs to talk or present topics at your FRG meetings.

Likewise, your unit chaplain will always bring valuable information and insights to your FRG. If you don’t have a Family Life Chaplain or Military Family Life Consultant readily available, reach out to Army Community Services; take a look at the following website: www.hood.army.mil/Family.life.aspx.

I would personally like to thank our FRSAs, MFLCs, chaplains and all personnel involved with unit FRGs for the great jobs you do each and every day to ensure our Soldiers and Family members are well taken care of.

If you would like to obtain more information regarding FRGs on Fort Hood, please visit the official website at www.hood.army.mil/frg.aspx?5.

An active and engaged FRG is the foundation for building Family readiness and creates a mutually supportive environment for our Soldiers and Family members on Fort Hood. Family readiness facilitates mission success and ensures that we remain the greatest Army in the world.

Again, I ask all of our Soldiers, regardless of rank or position, and our Families to be involved with your FRGs. I am proud to serve on such a Family-oriented installation, and I hope that all of you will seek out the resources available whenever the need arises.

Phantom Support – Army Strong!
 
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