[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                       August 8, 2008

Soldier Readiness Center maximizes servicemembers' time

By Tom Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor

Trudging through the stereotypical paperwork jungle is the way Soldiers spend the first two days of the mobilization process at Fort McCoy at the Soldier Readiness Center (SRC), but it is not a waste of precious time and effort.

Photo: 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)
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 information.

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.

This post-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.)


[ Top of Page ]

[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]