December 27, 2009
<b>What is it' </b>
The Virtual Installation (VI) assists military family members who are holding down the home front, far from the nearest military installation, when their loved ones deploy. VI may take the form of a brick and mortar storefront, space in a Veteran's Affairs facility or even an Internet site.
<b>What has the Army Reserve done' </b>
The Army Reserve opened its first Army Strong Community Center in Rochester, N.Y., in December 2008 as part of its Virtual Installation Community-Based Pilot Program.
The center provides members, retirees and veterans of all branches and components of the U.S. military and their family members with information, services and support they would have to drive 120 miles to find at Fort Drum, N.Y.
ASCC Rochester also gives local government agencies, organizations and businesses a way to assist military families. Additionally, it provides a vital link to survivor families - those who have lost loved ones to combat - in an environment that befits the quality of service rendered by their loved ones.
Since opening their doors, the ASCC staff has processed more than 1,100 requests for information and assistance. While more than half came from individuals connected to the Army Reserve, one third have been affiliated with the active component of the Army.
<b>What does the Army Reserve have planned for the future' </b>
In 2010, the Army Reserve will open five to eight more pilot facilities to test other approaches that are more visible to the community and easier to access. Based on data from these sites, the Army Reserve will determine the best way ahead for the VI program.
<b>Why is this important to the Army' </b>
The virtual installation program enhances quality of life, readiness, retention and recruiting.
Aca,!Ac All military families - regardless of component, branch or location - deserve the same level of service and support when their loved ones deploy.
Aca,!Ac Deployed Soldiers can focus on their mission when they know that, if there is a problem at home, the ASCC staff will care for their families.
Aca,!Ac Soldiers whose families are helped by the center recognize that the Army Reserve cares about them and continue to serve.
Aca,!Ac When communities recognize the support these centers provide, people will be influenced to join the military.
<a href="http://www.arfp.org/" target="_blank">Family Programs Web Site</a>
<a href="http://www.militaryonesource.com/" target="_blank">Military One Source</a>
<a href="http://www.myarmyonesource.com/" target="_blank">Army One Source</a>