Soldiers watch and listen to
a debriefer at the Fort McCoy Soldier Readiness Center. The
Soldiers had just returned from an overseas deployment. (Photo
by Tom Michele)
"We offer mobilizing
Soldiers peace of mind," Maj. Mary Lou Tomko said as she looked
out the door of her SRC office at Soldiers of the 259th Quartermaster
Battalion being briefed about how to protect their personal
Tomko, the SRCís
officer-in-charge, said, "We offer that peace of mind so a
Soldier knows their personnel, financial, medical, dental and vision
records are in order, along with legal services, family care affairs,
identification cards and tags and insurance options."
The mission for the
employees at the SRC is, as outlined in the official statement,
"To provide the best individual care possible. Ensure that all
aspects of support are available so that Soldiers can deploy and
redeploy without issues. Provide a positive environment where Soldiers
feel like they are the number one priority."
The 259th, an Army Reserve
unit in Denver, preparing to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi
Freedom, was beginning the first of two days processing at the SRC so
they could head out to the training ranges for the next 58 days to
learn about what they will encounter in Southcentral Asia.
It is that 60-day time
period of mobilization training that gets them ready for Southcentral
Asia specific tactics, strategies and culture, training they mostly
havenít received in their normal Army training. That is most
particular for Army National Guard and Army Reserve troops, and also
for personnel and elements of the Air Force and Navy who also go
through mobilization-demobilization at Fort McCoy.
"We donít eliminate
quality for speed," Tomko said, regarding the two days of the
paperwork processing. "We pride ourselves on the quality service
we provide our Soldiers. Our Soldiers are about to put their lives on
the line to protect our countryís way of life."
Master Sgt. Keith Miller,
the SRC noncommissioned officer in charge, said, "Itís our
strong belief that if the Soldiers are administratively healthy, then
they can better focus on the mission instead of being concerned with
pay issues, health benefits for the family or any legal issues
resolved such as wills, power of attorney or trusts for their children
or any other matters needing mitigation."
Soldiers also are given
advice and a formal letter to use to explain to creditors about
consideration for Soldiers paying reduced interest rates on accounts
entitled by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights
Act of 1994, which includes home loans (mortgage), vehicle loans, some
personal loans, education loans, rent and some credit card accounts.
Soldiers are given a chance
to visit with a chaplain to discuss any issues they deem necessary and
appropriate regarding their personal life and effects from or on
military life; counseling; spiritual fitness training, etc.
This same level of Soldier
care is continued when Soldiers and their units return to the United
States following their overseas deployment.
demobilization, process is a five-day time period, almost a reverse
action of the paperwork they went through a year and some months
earlier. Three of those demob days are spent at the SRC.
(Michele is a
public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc.,
contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)