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 February 12, 2010


Course teaches skills to assist Soldiers, Families during deployment

Story & Photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services

Rear Detachment Commander and Family Readiness Group (RDC-FRG ) training at Fort McCoy is vital to the success of mobilizing Soldiers because it has attendees learning skills to be better prepared to assist Soldiers and Families during deployment.

That is the way Kevin Herman described the RDC-FRG training at the Fort McCoy Army Community Service (ACS) Center. Herman is the ACS mobilization and deployment program manager. He conducts the 16-hour class, spread over two days, four times a year for units or groups and upon request.

PHOTO:As part of Rear Detachment Commander/Family Readiness Group training, Kevin Herman talks about one of many scenarios Families of Soldiers may encounter during a Soldier’s deployment.
As part of Rear Detachment Commander/Family Readiness Group training, Kevin Herman talks about one of many scenarios Families of Soldiers may encounter during a Soldier’s deployment.

“RDC-FRG training is essential training within the Army’s deployment cycle because there are continuously new sets of Soldiers going on tours of duty overseas for the first time,” Herman said.

“Even for the Soldier who has been on a previous tour,” he said, “their next tour may have them with a new spouse left at home alone, or the ages of their children may be noticeably older, all of which presents new challenges.”

The FRG is a unit commander’s program formed in accordance with Army Regulation (AR) 600-20 and outlined in AR 608-1 Appendix J. 

FRGs were created for the benefit of Family members and friends of Soldiers. Key members include Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, commanders and FRG leaders.

“FRGs provide mutual support and assistance and a network of communications among the Family members, the chain of command, and community resources.” Herman said. “FRGs assist unit commanders in meeting military and personal deployment preparedness and enhance the Family readiness of the unit’s Soldiers and Families.”

The RDC officially assumes the duties of the unit commander upon the unit’s deployment and provides home-station support for the unit. 

The RDC works in tandem with the deployed commander to help Families solve their problems at the lowest level so the problems and resulting anxieties do not overflow to the deployed Soldier or require the attention of the deployed commander.

Training session topics include developing leader techniques, working with volunteers and key people in a unit to disseminate information, planning events, communicating with each other, and other resources.

The section about Army Family Team Building teaches attendees how to integrate a Family into everyday Army life, the wear of the uniform, U.S. Flag etiquette and getting familiar with Army customs and culture.

In “Working with Families,” attendees learn to find resources pertinent to their Army lives through print publications and Internet resources.

These resources can be used to better serve the Families of the units they support.

Learning about the Army’s chain of command, the TRICARE health program, the judge advocate general legal resources and building a reference library of printed material for all Families are just a few topics on the list of classes that are available. 

“The biggest thing here is that we want no Family to feel left alone or with no place to turn to for assistance no matter how close or far they may be located from a military installation,” Herman emphasized. “ACS is a rock-solid resource for Families to reach out to for assistance. We are here to give them answers. We tie the knots that link them together and link them to the available resources they need for any emergency, urgent or difficult situations. We are here to assist Soldiers and their Families. Not providing them the assistance they are looking for is simply not an option.” 

Information about the RDC, FRG, ACS and upcoming training sessions is available by contacting the ACS Center at 608-388-3505.

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