Wednesday, April 02, 2008

33rd Leads the Way

I attended the regional Family Support Conference this last weekend and I have to say that there is a great deal of command emphasis on family support in the 33rd IBCT.

It is very refreshing to see that kind of focus from higher command. This is a program, if done correctly will be a tremendous asset to the families of deployed soldiers (and the 33rd is taking almost a third of the state with them) as well as an asset to the soldiers themselves.

When I went with the 33rd to Afghanistan (with CSM Bones and Major John) it was just the HHC of an ASG and it wasn't even used that way. On top of that there was no, none, zip, zero… support for the families. We had enough trouble trying to figure out what our jobs were and how we were going to do them with too few people. We didn't need the stress of worrying about our families back home.

The last thing a soldier needs to worry about when they're getting shot at is the leaky faucet at home (believe me, I've tried).

Now they have Family Assistance Center Representatives around the state to provide support and guidance to the families, including making a monthly phone call to a family member designated by each soldier. The 33rd has one better than that with the Family Readiness Support Assistant who helps the Family Readiness Groups of each individual Company.

Several Company Commanders even attended the training this weekend. Many of them attended with their FRGs or at least their FRG Leaders.

I applaud the efforts of the 33rd IBCT in this facet of keeping the soldiers safe and I give kudos to the leadership for making this a priority and providing the tools to get it done. The FACRs and the FRSA are state employees so the credit there goes to the Adjutant General (MG Enyart) and the state staff (JFHQ), but there seems also to be emphasis by the Brigade Command team.

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