Wardle takes charge of Rear Det.
October 15, 2008
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -Lt. Col. Randy Wardle assumed duties as the 25th Infantry Division's Rear Detachment commander, Oct. 1.
Wardle comes to the position with a wealth of experience in communications, having served as the division's deputy communications officer, the executive officer for the 125th Signal Battalion, G6 for the division, and as the Secretary of General Staff under the commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division.
So it was no surprise that establishing solid communication between family members and the rear detachment, and between deployed Soldiers and the rear detachment, is a top priority.
Wardle discussed his role as rear detachment commander during the upcoming deployment.
In your view, what is a rear detachment, and why is it important to the Soldiers and families during deployment'
<b>Wardle:</b> We are a conduit between the 25th Infantry Division forward and the families at Schofield Barracks. If families have problems, we take care of them, so the deployed Soldier forward doesn't have to.
If there are financial issues or they have problems with organizations on post, or even external organizations, we can assist them with that.
If their spouse comes home injured, we pick them up, we take care of them. We make sure the system works as it's intended to ensure support for the Soldier and their family members.
What is your primary concern, focus or priority as the rear detachment commander' What is your vision for the way ahead'
<b>Wardle:</b> My primary concern is taking care of family members that remain here in Hawaii and those family members that choose to go back to the (mainland) as their spouse is deployed.
Our second concern is support of our commanders and Soldiers forward. And third, is to assist in all casualty requirements that may arise.
What do you see as your biggest challenge'
<b>Wardle:</b> I think our biggest challenges will come when we begin Reset of the 2nd Stryker Brigade and all operational requirements of the 25th CAB. When 2nd Stryker Brigade redeploys back home this next year, we will begin fixing and upgrading all of their equipment.
This will be an extensive project, but with the 8th TSC's assistance, the Stryker Brigade Reset and the 25th CAB's operational requirements, we will be successful.
Also, we'll focus on keeping all family members informed of the outstanding activities and services available to them. Here at Schofield, we have the best services available to assist everyone's needs.
What's the most important aspect for Soldiers and family members'
<b>Wardle:</b> Communication. I want to ensure that we keep constant communication between family members and this command, to let them know they're our focus.
Through the use of our outstanding FRGs and rear detachment commanders, we will always be able to assist.
How does the family member keep informed with the rear detachment' Who is the liaison with family members'
<b>Wardle:</b> We have e-mail and phone contact with family members. Spouses should understand that they are also authorized to have an AKO (Army Knowledge Online) e-mail account that gives them e-mail and chat capability to their spouse at all times.
We want to make sure that everybody has these e-mail accounts, even family members who move off island.
Constant e-mail blasts help keep people informed with what's going on. The families' liaison to the rear detachment will always be their unit FRGs, FRSAs (family readiness support assistants) and the battalion rear detachments.
That's the primary means; is there any other way'
<b>Wardle:</b> They can always contact the unit rear detachment leadership. Our rear detachment leadership will ensure that every family member has the phone numbers to unit staff duties.
If they have questions that cannot be resolved through the FRG and FRSAs, then they can contact their unit for assistance.
How are you reaching out to the family member who does not regularly participate in the FRG or town halls'
<b>Wardle:</b> I will be meeting with my rear detachment commanders and will emphasize that they verify contact information for all their personnel and their spouses, (including) phone numbers, e-mail accounts and cell phone numbers. Through these lines of communications we can keep everyone informed.
I would also encourage Soldiers and family members to use their chains of command for information.
How can the spouses help you stay in contact, to make things run more smoothly'
<b>Wardle:</b> First, you always have to watch and assist your neighbor. Assist where you can then contact your FRG, FRSA or unit rear detachment leadership.
Second, make sure you've got your unit contact information and attend your FRG meetings each month. FRG meetings are really a clearinghouse for information.
Family readiness support assistants (FRSAs), senior wives, sergeant majors wives attend SIMs meetings each month to gain information from MWR, Tricare, etcetera. This information is truly valuable during deployment. They gain all types of information that will help you through this deployment.
Battalion FRSAs will be putting out this information to all the unit spouses each month. That's what FRSAs get paid to do.
What is the command structure when the 25th ID is deployed' When or where does the 8th Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) come into play'
<b>Wardle:</b> The 8th TSC, commanded by Maj. Gen. Raymond Mason, is our higher (command), and they will assist us as we need it.
We have already drawn up a memorandum of agreement (which details the tasks that will be performed by the 8th TSC and the 25th ID rear detachment).
I have a very small, but extremely experienced, staff to handle any issues or concerns that may arise.
Without the assistance of the 8th TSC commander and his staff, we wouldn't be able to put the max amount of Soldiers on the battlefield.
In addition, I will still be discussing weekly with the commanding general, Maj. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr., commander to commander, on all issues from individual readiness training, Soldiers deploying into theater from Schofield, and any family readiness issues that may need is attention.
Were there lessons learned from the last deployment that will be improved upon during your tenure as rear detachment commander'
<b>Wardle:</b> The big lesson was keeping the families connected and informed, weekly. So, every week, we will send out e-mail blasts (via FRSAs) of events on-post and around town. We want to make sure our family members are up-to-date on everything that is going on.
We are here to smash any rumors also. As we found out last (deployment), the rumors can run ramped and cause a lot of emotion. When this happens, contact your unit FRG, FRSAs, or rear detachment leadership to get the correct information.
Anything you'd like to add'
<b>Wardle:</b> My job is to ensure that the warfighter is able to stay focused on the fight. I take care of the business back here so they can take care of business over there.