Many Soldiers, as well as the family members who have partnered with them on the military journey, find daily challenges easier to face with an extensive support structure in place. While many units in the Army footprint have family readiness groups to fill such a role, those involved with FRG efforts for the Kaiserslautern-based 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command work tirelessly to ensure support is more than just lip service.
“We help provide the tools needed to adjust to military life,” said Lori Sweazey, the Family Readiness Support assistant for the 10th AAMDC, who is married to a Soldier assigned to the 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment
(a subordinate unit of the 10th AAMDC).
Those tools include referrals for financial readiness classes, seminars and short-term usage of household items through the “lending closet.” Such assistance for Soldiers and families unaccustomed to an overseas deployment is frequently a welcomed relief for those involved.
Sweazey compares the process to helping families get onto the “information highway,” where they can access helpful resources, but perhaps more importantly, develop relationships that make a deployment more enjoyable.
Jacqueline Pierce, wife of Warrant Officer 1 David Pierce, assigned to the 10th AAMDC, counts the Kaiserslautern community as her third duty station and is appreciative of the many benefits available through active involvement in FRG circles, she said.
“I think it’s a really great way to support the spouses, especially overseas,” Pierce said.
While the group meets monthly to conduct business, they still attempt to sprinkle in some fun to help people relax. A Jan. 16 bowling night at the Vogelweh bowling facility was one such event that brought children, spouses and Soldiers together for an evening of good food and fun.
The FRG events aren’t just for families, however, Pierce said.
“It’s also a chance to support our single Soldiers,” Pierce said, adding that one of the more refreshing aspects of being involved with an FRG, regardless of whether somebody is married or not, is the family atmosphere.
Citing cases where some couples have taken turns babysitting so other couples can enjoy date nights, Pierce said the chance to build relationships with other families often snowballs into such unexpected outpourings of support.
“It’s a good family away from family,” Pierce said.
Sweazey agreed, saying that while bowling nights and summer barbecues can help a deployment pass easier and more quickly for the families and Soldiers involved, they’ll never mask the primary mission of the unit’s FRG.
“It’s all about enhancing and building support within our military families,” Sweazey said.