By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
Sponsors don't have to know the answers to all of the questions
newcomers ask and can effectively serve incoming personnel if they
know where to get answers and provide them with the same positive
attitude a friend would.
Ann Wermer, Fort McCoy Army
Community Service Relocation Readiness manager, talks about
sponsorship issues during sponsorship training. (Photo
by Rob Schuette)
Ann Wermer, Fort McCoy Army Community Service (ACS) Relocation
Readiness manager, said ACS offers sponsorship training to provide the
information that prospective sponsors need.
Both military, including active component (AC), Active
Guard/Reserve (AGR), and those here in support of mobilization, as
well as PCSing (permanent change of station) civilian personnel and
their family members are eligible to use sponsorship services.
"Sponsorship is a commander's program in which commanders
and individual sponsors are the key to success for (smoothly)
integrating Soldiers, civilians and family members into and out of
their commands and community," Wermer said. "Sponsors help
provide these personnel with their first impressions of their new
Information about the Army Sponsorship Program is contained in
Army Regulation (AR) 600-8-8, The Total Sponsorship Program (Active
Component, Active Guard/Reserve and federal civilians), the U.S. Army
Reserve Command (USARC) Regulation 140-6, the USARC Retention and
Transition Program (Reserve Soldiers), and the National Guard
Regulation 601-1, Army National Guard Strength Maintenance Program.
sites can answer relocation questions
The following Web sites can
provide valuable information to those personnel who are coming
into the Fort McCoy community.
The Web site
(a link on the Military Homefront Web
site) tells personnel about the services available at
different installations, weather, directions, etc.
The Web site
covers a wide variety of topics, including financial,
educational, deployment, informational, etc.
It provides an Internet option to issues personnel face
every day and augments the services provided on most
The Web site
is the Armywide equivalent of Army Community Service (ACS)
information, programs, etc.
The Web site
has information about the Fort McCoy Morale, Welfare and
Recreation (MWR) program, including services, such as ACS,
recreational opportunities and events and more.
For more information about the Fort McCoy community, call
the installation ACS at (608) 388-3505 or visit 2111 South 8th
Both Soldiers and civilians can complete a Department of the
Army Form 5434, Sponsorship Program Counseling and Information Sheet,
prior to leaving their current assignment. The gaining unit or
activity sponsor then can contact the individual with answers to the
requests made on the form.
Among the first stops personnel coming to a new Fort McCoy
organization should make are ACS and the Housing office, Wermer said.
ACS can meet many of the needs of new arrivals as well as
provide valuable support to sponsors, Wermer said. The available
information includes pre-arrival welcome packets and Military
Homefront booklets with information about the installation and the
surrounding communities, and relocation counseling, newcomer
orientations and access to a lending closet upon arrival. Wermer said
ACS provides an inprocess assessment to see what types of information
new arrivals still may need as well as an outprocess assessment to
offer resources to individuals moving to another installation.
New personnel also are encouraged to attend the Newcomer
Orientation sessions, which are held from 8 a.m.-noon, usually on the
second Wednesday of each month. These include briefings from a number
of representatives from key installation organizations, Wermer said.
They also include a bus tour of the post. Spouses are welcome and
encouraged to attend. Childcare can be provided if it is requested at
least a week in advance.
Another service incoming personnel may want to use is the
lending closet, where personnel can get household items, such as pots
and pans, irons and ironing boards, vacuums, air mattresses, etc.,
while they wait for shipment of their household goods, she said.
The Housing office has good information about the housing
market, including lists of available real estate and rentals, she
Sponsors can help fill in the remaining gaps by providing
accurate and timely information to personnel arriving in the
community, Wermer said.
"We don't expect sponsors to know all the answers to
questions new personnel ask," she said. "But sponsors can
refer them to the personnel/organizations that do have the answers.
Sponsors can help create a good first impression by having a positive
attitude and helping the new personnel learn about their new
Many times, sponsors are teamed up, according to their
background/experiences, with the personnel they are sponsoring to
establish a common bond and share common experiences. Wermer said this
means sponsors would have equal or higher rank than the person they're
sponsoring, the same gender and marital status, the same military
occupational specialty or background, and familiarity with the unit
and community, for example.
"Good sponsors ease the transition and reduce culture
shock," Wermer said. "If someone is coming from a larger
population area or from the south, for example, it can be quite an
adjustment to come to Fort McCoy. Sponsors can help prepare them for
what to expect."
When military personnel are mobilized or deployed, a rear
detachment sponsor is assigned to assist in maintaining family
Dianne Sommers, ACS
Deployment Readiness Program manager, instructs a Rear Detachment
Commander Course. The Rear Detachment Sponsorship program maintains
effective communications between the family, the community and the
command. It provides families with information about the unit or
activity and about services at the local installation or community.
Maj. Marta Williams of the 1st, 340th Training Support
Battalion, 181st Infantry Brigade said she was pleased to learn about
all the information that is available through the sponsorship program.
Many of the Soldiers in her unit are mobilized Soldiers.
"All of the information in the course was useful,"
Williams said. "Every bit of the information was a gain to the
personnel in my organization."
Several civilian attendees mentioned that the Newcomers
Orientation, the information available to newcomers and the Web sites
provided were very useful to help acclimate newcomers to Fort McCoy,
Sponsorship training in the Fort McCoy community is
periodically conducted at ACS, building 2111 (South 8th Avenue) and
also upon unit request.
Information about ACS programs, including sponsorships, is
available by visiting the ACS facility, calling (608) 388-3505 or by
visiting the Fort McCoy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Web site
at http://www.mccoymwr.com and
clicking on ACS Schoolhouse or Army Community Service.