Sponsors key to smooth transition
April 10, 2014
The season of military moves is upon us. This year, more than ever, the Army is pushing for its Soldiers to have a designated sponsor before they make their permanent-change-of-station move.
According to AR-600-8-8, the Army's regulation on TASP, all Soldiers in grades E-1 through O-6 receive a sponsor. Within two days of the sponsor being appointed, contact information should be provided to the incoming Soldier.
Sponsors are command selected and, once chosen, must undergo training through Army One Source before being officially assigned as a sponsor.
"The sponsor is the key ingredient to the success of the newcomer's transition," said Wesley Spicer, sponsorship program coordinator.
Spicer added that sponsors ensure a smooth, positive and effective integration into the command/community.
According to Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Blakely, Fort Leonard Wood sponsorship liaison, it's the sponsor's job to answer any and all questions the incoming Soldier may have concerning their new assignment. This would include providing information on area schools, housing for both on and off post, employment opportunities for Family members and even upcoming unit activities.
"The new sponsor (is required) to make contact with (their assigned) Soldier ASAP, so if there are any unusual circumstances the unit will have time to react," Blakely said.
There are only a few prerequisites to becoming a good sponsor he added.
"Experience is all (that's needed)," said Blakely. "Knowing the area that you are in is very important to give correct information."
Ensuring Soldiers get the most out of the Total Army Sponsorship Program and making it beneficial to all is up to the individual command teams.
"The command team must take an active role and be engaged in the program in order for it to be successful," Blakely said. "(They) should periodically email the Soldier to ensure the sponsor has made contact and address any issues that Soldier and Family may have."
Following are sponsorship ips from www.militaryonesource.mil.
-- Contact the Family by letter or email to introduce yourself. In this introduction, ask about any specific needs the Family might have or questions they might want answers to before their arrival. If you need an example of sponsorship correspondence, visit eSponsorship and Training Tools.
-- Communicate with the Family often providing information concerning any needs or requirements they may have or to answer their questions.
-- Offer to make temporary lodging arrangements for the Family, updating them on any changes that may occur.
-- Help with in-processing and check-in procedures.
-- Provide the Family with information about housing, schools, medical facilities, child care facilities and other resources.
-- Offer to assist the service member with house hunting, vehicle registration or transportation needs.
-- Once the Family arrives, give them a tour of the installation, showing them the commissary, the exchange, fitness centers, chapels and the military and Family support center.
Soldiers who have not heard from their sponsors should contact the gaining unit's installation sponsorship liaison from the list provided during their assignment briefing.