VTC links Soldiers, spouses
July 21, 2008
BAGHDAD - Inside of a 20-foot long conference room, 10th Mountain Division Special Troops Battalion Soldiers reunite with Family members - separated by nearly 6,000 miles.
A Morale Video Teleconference set up to give Soldiers a 15 minute block of time connects them with their loved ones back home.
"It's very important for Soldiers to see their Families - to actually look at them," said 1st Lt. Thomas Joseph, who runs the VTCs here. "It's an incredible way to boost morale."
Joseph, a native of Chicago, has been running the VTCs for two weeks. He explained that the VTCs are done in close coordination with DSTB Rear Detachment personnel on Fort Drum. There, spouses of service members link up over the same system to spend time with their beloved.
The Morale VTCs are the product of a commitment made by DSTB leadership prior to deploying.
"The Morale VTC is a deployment enabler and a great use of resources where the demand for bandwidth is relatively low," said Lt. Col. Steven Parker, DSTB and Task Force Gauntlet commander. "Ultimately, a 15-minute VTC with home helps Soldiers focus more on their mission and worry less about their Families."
Staff Sergeant Wayne White, a trumpet player with the 10th Mtn. Div. Band, battled anxiety and excitement on his way to Task Force Mountain Headquarters. Once there, those feelings were vanished when he saw his wife, Susan.
"It felt very good seeing her sit down," said White, a native of Park Hills, Miss. "We talk every day, and we webcam, but they don't work nearly as well. This was great. It was so good to see her."
White was among 24 Soldiers scheduled for Morale VTCs July 19.
Other programs designed to keep Family connections strong during the deployment include Monthly Deployment Enrichment Training and the United Through Reading Program, as well as a unit photo journal created for Family members.
DSTB Soldiers interested in setting up a Morale VTC are encouraged to contact their chain-of-command. Blocks of time are limited; the Morale VTCs are scheduled to occur every other week.