Air Operations Group hosts FRG meeting
April 19, 2013
Families and Soldiers within the Army Air Operations Group took steps toward improving resiliency during an executive committee Family Readiness Group meeting April 11 in Lewis Village.
The FRG meeting, which was the first for AAOG's Headquarters, gave Soldiers and spouses the opportunity to discuss needs, natural disaster emergency plans, appropriate social media behavior and USO activities available to the unit.
The meeting included AAOG Commander Col. William D. McGarrity, AAOG Command Sgt. Major Shawn Jones, leaders from AAOG's battalions and spouses. Participants will now share the information gained during the meeting with Soldiers and Families throughout AAOG.
"This makes us a more powerfully organized unit," McGarrity said of sharing information with AAOG personnel. "People are more resilient when they know what to do, when to do it and how to do it, so that everyone is on the same page."
The Army's FRGs support Families and Soldiers within a unit through sharing information and by helping Families within the unit connect socially. This support system strengthens Soldiers' and Families' resiliency and morale through readiness training and deployments, according to the Army's FRG website. AAOG's executive committee discussed several topics aimed at helping Families throughout the unit during the meeting.
Lt. Col. Steve Woodside, AAOG S-3, informed participants of proper safety measures to take during a storm. Prepare emergency kits filled with necessities, such as 72 hours worth of non-perishable food, water and medicine, for each person in a household. Families should also develop a meeting location in case members are separated.
FRG meeting participants also learned about proper safety precautions to take while using social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter during a discussion led by Sgt. Jesus Aranda, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command Public Affairs Office specialist. Spouses and Soldiers should not post mission-sensitive information such as deployment dates and locations. Personal identifiable information like home addresses and phone numbers shouldn't be posted online. Soldiers should also be mindful of posting negative or revealing comments about supervisors, which could lead to misconduct consequences.
"Social media is a great tool. You can tell the Soldier's stories just through interacting with people online," Aranda said. "You have to be careful, though, because the enemy is always watching."
Participants also learned about activities available throughout the region.
To help spouses learn about opportunities, K.J. Stevens, USO programs coordinator, discussed USO events and activities, many of which occur in the recently opened Warrior and Family Center, on Fort Belvoir. The center provides space for games, music, dining and healing among other activities. In addition to the center, USO regularly distributes tickets to sporting events and sponsors Family oriented activities throughout the year.
A big take away from the executive meeting was the importance of distributing information. Spouses appreciate receiving news relevant to Families such as the information discussed during the FRG meeting, according to Heather Appelgate, U.S. Army Priority Air Transport FRG leader.
"This was a wonderful and great venue to communicate with all the different AOG leaders," Appelgate said. "Receiving information on issues and events uplifts and informs spouses."
The meeting enabled McGarrity and Jones, both of whom assumed their positions in August 2012, to establish a connection with spouses and Soldiers working with the FRGs in the AAOG's battalions, according to Master Sgt. Anthony Johnson, AOG S-3 non-commissioned officer in charge.
"We have a new command team," Johnson said. "We're establishing their Family readiness."
Woodside added "the commander is really keen on this and we're trying to make sure we're all working together."