FORT HOOD, Texas -- For Soldiers and families preparing for lengthy training or an upcoming deployment, there is a lot to worry about and plan for.

To help better prepare their Soldiers and family members, the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, hosted its first deployment fair this year on Fort Hood, Texas, Nov. 23.

"Our main intent was to connect Soldiers and family members with the appropriate agencies here on post that can assist them as we prepare for upcoming deployments," explained Chaplain (Capt.) Jon Bailey, the battalion's chaplain.

"We are fortunate that Fort Hood is such a large post, with numerous agencies that aid families during stressful life events, such as deployments," he said. "However, often Soldiers and family members are not aware of all that is available to them."

During the fair, Soldiers and families were treated to presentations from various organizations from the post including: The Red Cross, Military Family Life consultants, Tricare, Army Community Service, and Social Services.

"It is important to give families information now so that they can prepare and set the stage before the Soldier departs," said Bailey. "One of the challenges during a deployment is during the first 30 to 90 days."

"Usually it is difficult for the Soldier to communicate with people back home during the initial weeks of the deployment," he continued. "If they haven't set their spouse and family up for success, there is nothing they can do at that point to help out."

"Obviously, this is the scenario we hope to equip families to avoid," he said.

For Soldiers and families that haven't experienced a deployment yet, the fair was a chance to learn a lot.

"They gave us a lot of information here," said Kirstie Treccariche, the wife of Pfc. David Treccariche. For Kirstie and David, the main benefit of the fair was that it allowed them to visit booths that each organization had set up.

"The most important thing for us was getting phone numbers and contact information," explained Kirstie.

The deployment fairs are definitely an event she would recommend to any spouse of a deploying Soldier or a spouse who is new to the military community, she said.

"It's good to get all the information you can," she said.

Even family members seasoned with numerous deployments felt the fair brought something new to the table.

"There is always some new information, some new resource," said Molly Capra, whose husband has already deployed three times.

The Army is adding more support organizations each with deployment, so it's important to keep up with them so you can get the most help possible, she continued.

Capra wanted to remind Soldiers and family members that anything can go wrong during a deployment, so it's vital to be prepared for anything and have all the information you can get.

As 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt. continues to prepare and train for upcoming deployments, the unit plans to host more deployment fairs in the future, and hopefully every Soldier and family member will get the chance to attend one.

"In my mind, if we encouraged just one family to make contact with a counselor from one of these agencies, then all the effort that went into the coordination and execution was worth it," said Bailey.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16