CompanyCommand: Building Combat-Ready Teams: Commander-FRG Leader Teams

Article excerpt

To: Company Commanders and their FRG Leaders

From: Company Commanders and their FRG Leaders

"You enlist the soldier. You reenlist the family." Great leaders understand the power of this maxim. In a highOPTEMPO Army, the importance of the Family Readiness Group (FRG) cannot be overstated. A resourceful, motivated FRG leader can make all the difference to the spouses and children left behind when a unit deploys. Commanders and their FRG leaders work together as teams, and so do their respective forums-CompanyCommand and FRG Leader. Listen in as experienced company commanders and FRG leaders talk about working together to make a difference for Soldiers and their families.

Barbie Peppie

HHC, 21StTSC

When I was appointed FRG leader, we had to start from scratch. In three months time, our company commander, O'Shea J. White, has established and signed off on all required SOPs. He has now added the FRG to the unit budget, we now hold monthly FRG newcomers luncheons, and he has written and signed appointment orders for every key volunteer. The Family Readiness liaison, the Family Readiness support assistant and I now have weekly meetings to ensure everything gets done that needs to be done. He has also ensured the FRG now holds monthly meetings. Whereas before there may have been 20 people who showed up for the meetings, now there are more than 130. Our company commander even gave the FRG four rooms in the building where he works. One room has four computers for FRG training and is always accessible to the Soldiers and family members to use to ensure they stay in contact with family members back home and down range. Another room is the FRG meeting room, filled with tables and chairs along with all administrative supplies the FRG needs. The two other rooms are used as children's playrooms during FRG meetings.

CPT White will be leaving soon, but he is leaving the FRG better off than when he arrived. Even though he will be moving on, he is still planning to ensure that the fundraisers and the holiday party (which he will miss) are going to be the best yet. He is an amazing man with an amazing family. The FRG, the Soldiers and the family members will be forever grateful for all he has done for this unit.

Jerry Brown

877th QM CO

My FRG leader, Karen Brown, and my FRG liaison, Aaron Sweet, have made great strides in developing a one-woman program into 10 spouses that are willing to help at a drop of a hat. We started with nothing in the FRG funds account and now, in less than six months, we are above $1,000. The FRG program has filled the void between information on what the unit is doing and then getting that information back to the spouses at home. The newsletter has been a great tool. Because it goes directly to the spouses, now they know pretty much everything I know when it comes down to events that affect the unit.

Traci Cook

B/1-39 FA (MLRS)

My favorite event planned by our battery commander, Nate Cook, was a "Family Day in the Field." The unit had a three-week training event, so he planned a day in the middle of that training for the families to come to the field and see their Soldiers in action. We had a high participation rate, and the families really enjoyed the time.

He had a bus come pick us up and take us out to the field, where the unit was training. We were able to see where they were training and get a real feel for what they were doing out there. One spouse told me that in 18-plus years in the Army, she'd never known what it was like for him during the field exercises.

Families brought yummy picnic meals with lots of cold drinks (we were in hot and steamy Georgia during the summer), and the Soldiers showed us how to eat Meals Ready to Eat. The kids loved that. We all brought lots of extra food for the single Soldiers. We even had some parents come in from out of town to see their single Soldiers. It was a very fun day focused on families and a nice break for the Soldiers as well. …