SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Nov. 2, 2010) -- November marks the return of Military Family Appreciation Month. Throughout November, the Army, the Department of Defense and the nation will honor the commitment and sacrifices made by the families of the nation's servicemembers.

More Soldiers have families today than in any time history. According to the latest report by the Office of Army Demographics (2009), 58 percent of Soldiers are married, and another 6.7 percent are single with children. The Army counted more than 850,000 family members.

These families, already used to a life of deployment and separation, are seeing the effects of more than nine years of persistent conflict.

"Never before in the history of our Army have we asked so much of our families," said Gen. George W. Casey Jr., chief of staff of the Army, recently. "They are serving side-by-side with our Soldiers, enduring their hardships, providing the unconditional love and support that truly makes our Army strong."

Throughout November, Army families will be recognized and honored in a variety of ways. Installations are planning special family events, from observance ceremonies to "Family Fun Nights."

Community leaders, businesses, and garrisons are teaming up to recognize Army families through special events including open houses at Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Army Community Services Centers, fun runs, Family Fun Nights, community dinners and sporting-event nights.

MWR facilities, local businesses, the Defense Commissary Agency and the Army and Air Force Exchange Service are planning discounts and other specials.

This year's theme is "Army Families - We Honor Your Faithful Commitment, Strength and Resilience."

"In order to be effective, we have to make sure we are taking care of those things that the Soldier truly cares about," said Secretary of the Army John McHugh at the recent meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army.

As he visits deployed units, "One of the first things every Soldier brings up is how much they care about, how concerned they are for the welfare of those loved ones they left behind," McHugh said. "The last thing we want Soldiers to be worried about is whether or not their families are being taken care of."

The Army Family Covenant represents the Army's promise to provide Soldiers and their families a quality of life commensurate to their sacrifice to the nation, according to Maj. Gen. Reuben D. Jones, commander of the U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command.

"We believe that if we take care of our families, our Soldiers will do what our nation asks them," Jones told the AUSA audience.

The Covenant is built upon five core commitments from Army leadership:

* Standardize and fully fund family programs and services

* Increase accessibility and quality of health care

* Improve Soldier and family housing

* Ensure excellence in child, youth and school services

* Expand education and employment opportunities for family members

And even in tight economic times, the Army "is not going to walk away from fully funding the Army Family Covenant," said Lt. Gen Rick Lynch, commander of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command.

"I am dedicated to deliver on the Army leadership's promise to continue to provide the best care and quality of life possible to Soldiers and their families. Our commitment to delivering the Army Family Covenant is non-negotiable. We will not depart from this commitment," Lynch wrote in the fall issue of the Journal of Installation Management.

First Lady Michelle Obama expressed her gratitude to military families in a July 4 message. "Military families are proud, patriotic Americans. They are some of the most selfless people that I've met. I want to thank those families for their dedication and sacrifice and service," she said.

"Other things may change us, but we start and end with family." -- Author Anthony Brandt

Find Military Family Appreciation Month posters and other marketing materials from the FMWRC marketing division at <a href="http://www.mwrbrandcentral.com/"target=_blank>www.mwrbrandcentral.com</a>. For more information, visit IMCOM at http://www.imcom.army.mil/hq

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<i><b>About the U.S. Army Installation Management Community: </b>

IMCOM handles the day-to-day operations of U.S. Army installations around the globe -- We are the Army's Home. Army installations are communities that provide many of the same types of services expected from any small city. Fire, police, public works, housing, and child-care are just some of the things IMCOM does in Army communities every day. We endeavor to provide a quality of life for Soldiers, Civilians and Families commensurate with their service. Our professional workforce strives to deliver on the commitments of the Army Family Covenant, honor the sacrifices of military Families, and enable the Army Force Generation cycle.

Our Mission: To provide standardized, effective and efficient services, facilities and infrastructure to Soldiers, Civilians and Families for an Army and Nation engaged in persistent conflict.

Our Vision: Army installations are the Department of Defense standard for infrastructure quality and are the provider of consistent, quality services that are a force multiplier in supported organizations' mission accomplishment, and materially enhance Soldier, civilian and family well-being and readiness.

To learn more about IMCOM:

<a href="http://www.imcom.army.mil/hq">U.S. Army Installation Management Command website</a>

<a href="http://twitter.com/armyimcom"> IMCOM on Twitter</a>

<a href="http://www.facebook.com/InstallationManagementCommunity">IMCOM on Facebook</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/installationmgt">IMCOM on YouTube</a>

<a href="http://www.scribd.com/IMCOMPubs">IMCOM on social publishing site Scribd</a>

<a href="http://ireport.cnn.com/people/HQIMCOMPA">IMCOM on CNN iReport</a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/imcom/">IMCOM on the Flickr photo sharing site</a></i>

Page last updated Mon November 1st, 2010 at 18:24