Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Navigating Deployment Together

Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Navigating Deployment Together

Article excerpt

THE Mobilization, Deployment and Family Readiness Program at Fort Belvoir, Va., offers pre-deployment courses, workshops and resources to help Soldiers and Families prepare for missions downrange. Like other Family Readiness Groups throughout the Army, this one also helps prepare Families for their Soldiers' return.

"We keep in contact with (the Families) and provide activities and support during the deployment, and then we do the same thing at the other end," said Carol Janer, Mobilization, Deployment and Family Readiness program manager.

"We work with the spouse before the Soldier comes back ... getting them ready (to put) themselves back together as a Family. And then, once the Soldier is home, we do reintegration, which is working with them as a couple after they have come back together," she added.

The pre-deployment workshops cover four main subjects: practical issues, such as emergency phone lists, personal emergency contacts and local resources; legal issues, like updating wills and powers of attorney; financial issues, such as how to budget for a Family with an active-duty paycheck; and personal matters, like how to shut of the main water supply at home and where the fuse box is located.

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"We have these long checklists for them ... so they don't have to remember all this," Janer said. "They can just go through these checklists and say, 'Yes, that pertains to me.'"

The workshops also talk about communication between the Soldier and spouse during a deployment, with an emphasis on how to exercise patience. Once the spouse and Soldier have worked out a communication schedule, the spouse sometimes worries when the Soldier doesn't keep to that arrangement.

"We talk to (the spouses) about how if they haven't heard anything, then the Soldier is OK," Janer explained. …

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