'Black Jack' Brigade hosts town hall meeting
December 29, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas-"It is going to be a very dynamic and fluid year," said Col. Ryan Gonsalves, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division commander, to a crowd gathered at the Howze Theater on Fort Hood on Dec. 16. Gonsalves was speaking as part of the Brigade town hall meeting, which Soldiers of 2nd Brigade and their families were invited to attend.
The town hall meeting is a preparation the unit takes for the families and Soldiers of 2nd BCT before the unit deploys to Iraq in January.
The colonel took the time to focus on what Soldiers can expect immediately before the deployment.
"The intent is to have as much time as possible with the families," said Gonsalves in regards to the Soldiers that are deploying.
The meeting also addressed various issues that Soldiers might encounter before a deployment. The commander then spoke of the conditions the Soldiers can expect when they deploy.
"There will be cramped living accommodations," said Gonsalves. "But, there will be some amenities."
This was followed by a slightly more in-depth look into the timeline of when Soldiers can expect to redeploy home.
"I am planning on twelve (months), but if it goes longer I am preparing for that," said Gonsalves. "Things may change that may keep us there a little longer."
After the commander finished with his part of the briefing, the brigade family readiness advocate, Laurie Siegel, spoke about the brigade family readiness group.
Laurie emphasized the need for Soldier's families to have access to the Army Knowledge Online website to be able to keep up with their Soldier's movements.
"There are 38 web pages for our brigade alone," said Siegel. "Any changes that occur while the Soldier is deployed will go on those."
Lt. Col. Timothy Prater, the brigade rear detachment commander, also got a chance to address the crowd. Most of his briefing regarded the operational security issues that Soldiers and families need to keep in mind while deployed.
"Limit what you say, and who you say it about," said Prater. This was in regards to things like military movements, unit locations, equipment problems and training events.
Prater reminded families to watch what they say in places like bars, clubs and gyms and to be careful with any information they do know.
"Keep a need to know attitude," said Prater. "Who needs to know'"
Prater also emphasized security when it comes to the internet.
"What goes on the (internet) is out there for everybody," said Prater. "Avoid posting excessive personal information."
Prater ended his part of the briefing with something for Soldiers to keep in mind.
"Don't get too paranoid, but a little paranoia is always good."
Additional briefers followed with information about new programs, media training and legal issues. For Soldiers with questions about any of these issues, they can be addressed by the various sections within the brigade headquarters.