Moving from assignment to assignment is rarely a hassle-free experience, with some moves not only more difficult than others but more difficult than necessary. Soldiers from the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command recognize that often unpleasant reality and work regularly with Army Community Service in the KMC to ensure arriving service members and their families are cared for efficiently and with compassion.
“My role as a sponsor was to make the incoming Soldier’s life as easy as possible,” said Capt. Brendon Baker, the current operations officer for the 10th AAMDC.
Sponsorship, the term commonly used to describe a service member being assigned to help an incoming one transition into a new unit, has the potential to significantly affect the mood, outlook and enjoyment of an overseas tour, if done properly. Eliminating the past horror stories of long lines, disinformation and sponsors who couldn’t care less about their incoming Soldiers is part of the ACS commitment to make transitioning to a new assignment a pleasant one.
“We want to change the perception of what sponsorship is, and that first impression is the lasting one,” said Sarahjane Phillips, the relocation readiness manager for Army Community Service in the KMC.
Every service member assigned to serve as a sponsor must now complete ACS sponsor training. With that useful knowledge, sponsors can provide a revealing look into the many services available in the KMC to Soldiers and their families that make adjustment easier, not to mention even possible.
“In a large military community like the KMC, new Soldiers are at an extreme disadvantage without a vehicle. Usually, within two to four weeks, you get to see the Soldier get a license, a vehicle and a house, and then they start becoming self-sufficient,” Baker said.
Greater independence in fresh surroundings can also be just a visit away to the ACS offices on Pulaski Barracks. One of the most popular services is the Lending Closet,
where newcomers can borrow common household items until their shipped goods arrive, said Monica Wyatt, a relocation assistant with ACS.
Wyatt, a Rheinland-Pfalz native who married a service member and lived in the states before returning, said helping others grow more comfortable in new surroundings is a wonderful aspect of her job.
“This is a great way to give back, and allows people (newcomers) to be more active and independent,” she said. Upcoming ACS events include a spouse sponsorship program at 4 p.m. July 23 for volunteers interested in helping non-military spouses learn about utilizing available resources.
With so many different facilities scattered from Pirmasens to Sembach, getting used to the KMC can be daunting if one has to do it alone or completely in the dark. Baker has found sponsorship of new Soldiers to his unit to be a rewarding experience with minimal impact on normal work duties.
Phillips agreed, noting that concerns about sponsorship eating-up every moment of free time are not only unnecessary, but even undesirable. “You don’t need to be their best friend; you just need to be their best sponsor,” she said.
For more information about sponsorship or relocation to the KMC, call ACS at 314-493-4203.