TAJI, Iraq (American Forces Press Service) ó As deployments have
remained consistent for Soldiers and family members of the 4th
Infantry Division, separation has been commonplace.
Capt. Mohamad Umar displays a
book he read to his children. (Photo
by Capt. Kathryn Rains)
aid in strengthening the separated familiesí relationships, the
nonprofit United through Reading program promotes the "read
aloud" experience for separated families.
program fosters communication between deployed Soldiers and their
children, siblings, nieces, nephews or those to whom they are a
we make a difference in one Soldierís life and possibly that of his
or her children, we have been successful, but to impact so many
Soldiers and families is simply overwhelming and fills the heart with
pride," said Army Lt. Col. Steven Palmer, who hails from Las
Vegas and serves in Multinational Division Baghdad as commander of the
4th Infantry Divisionís 3rd Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, Combat
program has grown so large for us that nearly everyone feels the
positive influence of this family interaction," he said. "I
cannot be more proud of our ministry team and the positive impact they
have had on our daily mission."
support for this program throughout the battalion has been in keeping
with the 4th Infantry Divisionís motto, "Steadfast and
video of the deployed Soldier reading a book, and the book, are mailed
to the child. The childís reaction is mailed in return to the
a wonderful blessing to be able to read to my daughter on video,
receive a video in return, and be able to watch her sit and follow
along with the book," said Staff Sgt. James Stanley, who hails
from Troufdale, Ore., and serves as a personnel noncommissioned
officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th
Aviation Regiment. "It helps with the separation, and I get to
help teach her to read at the same time."
Army Pfc. Shannon Willingham
displays books she has read to children back home during her
service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. (Photo
by Capt. Kathryn Rains)
through Readingís nationally acclaimed programs provide
opportunities for powerful emotional bonding to deployed
servicemembers and their families.
program attempts to relieve the stress of separation by coordinating a
book reading session between deployed adults and children.
(Capt.) Mark Olson, from Dayton, Tenn., who has six children of his
own, offers Soldiers this opportunity to communicate with their
children not only by providing a reading room for Soldiers to record
in, but also by taking the program to the Soldiers working on the
Soldiers do not have the time to come to our reading room, so we take
our video camera and books to them," Olson said. "The main
idea for this program is simply to keep Soldiers in touch with their
families. The greatest reward, however, is the knowledge that someone
back home will cry, smile, or laugh as they see their loved one in
living color, live before them on TV.
(Editorís Note: More
information on groups and individuals supporting the troops can be
found at the Web site http://www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil.
That is the Web site of the Defense Departmentís America Supports
You program, which connects citizens and companies with servicemembers
and their families serving at home and abroad.)