Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor
is the magic moment when a mobilized reserve-component Soldier comes
home and steps off the aircraft to restart their civilian life.
Mitzi Hinton, an Army Career
Alumni Program counselor and Army Reserve sergeant major,
assists Soldiers from 109th Medical Battalion during
demobilization. (Photo by
includes going through an average of five days of administrative,
medical and dental screening, paperwork and briefings.
Fort McCoy, it all begins at the Soldier Readiness Center (SRC) where
Capt. Douglas Westbrook and his crew of contract and civil service
employees help Soldiers transition back to civilian life. Westbrook
serves as the officer-in-charge at the SRC.
mission is to serve the best interests of the Soldier, to make sure
the Soldier’s transition to civilian life is smooth, complete and
accurate," Westbrook said.
of the most important records we work on with the Soldier is the DD
Form 214, the validation of the Soldier’s active-duty service, with
the dates they served, total active-duty time served and type of
separation," Westbrook said. "It is used most importantly to
certify their eligibility for benefits, such as health care, financial
loans and education options, particularly with the Department of
Col. Valerie Coleman, the SRC Medical OIC, said, "The most
important thing about a Soldier demobilizing is their health. Our main
objective is the Soldier is in good health upon demobilization and
those Soldiers with injuries and, or, illnesses sustained or
aggravated by their service are documented and properly taken
said, "Every demobilizing Soldier must go through the behavioral
health section. Returning Soldiers can be depressed and despondent.
Soldiers see and go through a lot during their deployment. They may be
afraid or ashamed to talk about it. We have behavioral health
counselors and psychiatrists here to help them."
at SRC Medical Section, Staff Sgt. Helena Michalak, the
noncommissioned OIC, said, "Soldiers come through the SRC Medical
to get blood tests and are screened for tuberculosis. They receive a
Post Deployment Health Assessment, an audiology test, an optional
optical test and will receive any immunizations to ensure their shots
are up to date. Soldiers who have medical issues are referred to the
Troop Medical Clinic for resolution."
SRC function includes scrutiny of the Soldier’s finance records to
ensure they are correct.
1st Class Patrick Kite, the SRC’s noncommissioned OIC, said,
"This includes calculation of leave days available through the
Post-Deployment Mobilization Respite Absence, a Congressionally
mandated policy for servicemembers involuntarily placed on overseas
duty, to compensate them with extra administrative leave days and
allows them to acclimate back to civilian life."
also go through the Identification Card Section to update Common
Access Card and the Defense Eligibility Records System (DEERS) data.
DEERS is a computerized database that determines Soldier and family
eligibility for health services, including TRICARE. Proper
registration in DEERS is key to receiving timely and effective TRICARE
medical and dental benefits and entitlements.
Soldiers also get a briefing with a military family life consultant
that further acquaints them with the Army Community Service family
said, "There is an Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) set up
for Soldiers in getting a job, writing a resume and ACAP identifying
companies that prefer former military personnel. It creates enormous
opportunities to the new veteran in finding a job or furthering their
career by looking at other jobs. While at the SRC, Soldiers also may
choose to talk with a retention NCO about their Army career and
are briefed by a legal officer to ensure they are aware of their legal
rights, such as having a will, power of attorney and their legal
rights in regard to re-employment with their former employers.
Westbrook and Kite also noted there are other elements in the demob
process, beyond the SRC, particularly through logistics, the Mob
Support Battalion, the Mobilization In-processing Center and the
Personnel Administration Center.
demob process at the SRC is a chance for the Soldier to meet with
representatives and get details about the benefits and options
available to them, and make sure the Soldier is prepared to go back to
civilian life when they step out the door and rejoin their families
and civilian life," Westbrook said.
have the concern of the Soldier in mind, and we add the human touch to
demobilization and their return to civilian life." Westbrook
said. "This is the Army and the nation’s way of taking care of
our Soldiers and their families."
is a public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc.,
contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)