'Strong Bonds' help Battle Ready Brigade live up to its name
July 22, 2010
ATLANTA - The 188th Infantry "Battle Ready" Brigade recently finished this year's married and single Soldier Strong Bonds training workshops held in Atlanta and Savannah, Ga., in an effort to maintain its Soldiers' ready posture.
Strong Bonds is a fully-funded, chaplain-led program that helps commanders build individual resiliency within their forces by strengthening the Army family. Strong Bonds accomplishes this through relationship education and skills training.
The Strong Bonds Married and Singles Training workshops are based on curriculum by Dr. John Van Epp, a relationship seminar speaker and author. The marriage workshop focused on a course of study called L.I.N.K.S (Lasting Intimacy through Nurturing, Knowledge, and Skills) and the singles used material called "How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk (or Jerkette)."
Currently, 56 percent of today's Soldiers are married, according to the Army Strong Bonds Program. The stresses resulting from frequent deployments, relocations and struggling to find balance have caused many marriages to end in divorce. During the Strong Bonds workshop for married Soldiers, couples participated in interactive discussions to learn better communication techniques and share ways to overcome obstacles facing military families.
"Curriculum taught in our workshops teaches couples and singles how to overcome difficulties and remain faithful to each other," said Chaplain (Maj.) David Clark, 188th chaplain and facilitator.
The Strong Bonds workshop for single Soldiers focused on teaching Soldiers how to find the right partner and how to build a strong relationship. About 50 percent of Soldiers are single and most will marry while on active-duty, according to ASBP. The Army has adopted a proactive stance to provide Soldiers with decision making and relationship building skills prior to marriage to help cultivate healthy relationships.
The discussions during both workshops centered on the facets of Epp's Relationship Attachment Model, which is comprised of: know, trust, rely, commit and touch. Participants understood that different facets were interconnected - one facet moving up or down the scale based on the level of another facet.
"Part of taking care of Soldiers is making sure they are equipped for the mission they are undertaking," said Col. Robert A. Warburg, 188th Infantry Brigade commander. "These workshops help to give Soldiers some of the skills and tools necessary to strengthen and maintain their relationships, which enable them to focus on the mission."
The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve formations. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th has been training deploying National Guard and Reserve units for Iraq deployments continuously since 2003.