Plan reintegrates returning Soldiers

Christine June
415th Base Support Battalion

***image1***Soldiers returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Kaiserslautern will process back into the community with the Army’s new Redeployment and Reintegration Plan.

The 415th Base Support Battalion is gearing up to activate the new plan in the upcoming months for redeploying troops from the 21st Theater Support Command and other KMC tenant units.

“We will first take care of their housing needs,” said Maj. David Tiedemann, operations officer, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, 415th BSB. “And then they will go through a variety of briefings throughout the reintegration process.”

Soldiers will attend briefings at the Kaiserslautern Community Activities Center, Kleber Kaserne, for seven days. Soldiers will also go through a medical redeployment process at the Kleber Health Clinic. Once the seven-day reintegration plan is completed, Soldiers’ units will hold a formal welcome home ceremony.

Briefings will be from the Army Community Service, Kleber Health Clinic, Chaplain’s Office, Housing, Safety and other agencies with information pertinent to redeploying Soldiers and their families.

Spouses can also attend these briefings, and child care will be provided free at one of the 415th BSB Child Care Centers, according to Major Tiedemann.

“I would encourage spouses to attend,” said Linda Slaughter, Mobilization and Deployment specialist, 415th BSB ACS. “Spouses and families need to be aware of changes that have occurred not only to them, but to the Soldier, so they can establish realistic expectations and accept that things may be different.”

Programs and assistance provided by ACS to spouses and family members are stress and anger management, financial counseling, coping strategies, and reunion and reintegration issues. This assistance can begin as early as 60 days before the Soldier returns or at anytime requested by the families, said Mrs. Slaughter.

The military medical community has been doing medical redeployment processing for years, but this new reintegration plan makes it easier to ensure all redeploying Soldiers are seen, said Capt. Kimberlie Statler, chief nurse, Kleber Health Clinic.

For medical redeployment, Soldiers will complete a Post Deployment Health Assessment and an interview with a health care provider, and update their immunizations, blood specimen collections and Medical Protection System data input.

“We are much more knowledgeable now on the importance of knowing Soldiers’ health prior to deployment and after deployment than we were during the first Gulf War,” said Captain Statler. “We have measures in place to track their changes in health that happened during the deployment, and if they start having medical problems after they return, we have documentation on where they were, what they were possibly exposed to and what unit they were with during deployment.”

The Army developed this new Redeployment and Reintegration Plan due to the spouse incidents and deaths at Ft. Bragg, N.C., as result of the redeployment from Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

“We identified that we need to make sure that we provide the tools for Soldiers reintegrate with their families and the community with the least amount of stress,” said Major Tiedemann. “It’s the right thing to do for Soldiers and their families.”