Support through reintegration
July 7, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga., July 12, 2011 -- As the United States Military prepares to return from two ground conflicts, sometimes Soldiers may face obstacles at home as they return from the battlefield.
More than 3,000 Fourth Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers have returned from Iraq, and others of the Advise and Assist Brigade continue to return.
These heroes will face many changes and challenges as they return home. But their families can face many challenges as well as they reunite after a year of being a part
Traci Wheeler, family readiness support assistant for 4IBCT, is part of an extensive group of Soldiers, family members, Army civilians and volunteers who are there to make sure the reintegration process is as easy as possible.
“Reintegration training is important for the Soldiers as well as the families because it helps the Soldiers get back into their same routine at home,” she said. “They are moving from a totally different location and environment in Iraq and coming to a home environment.”
Wheeler added that Soldiers could potentially have problems reconnecting with family members when they redeploy, but there are numerous resources, including unit ministry teams, military family life consultants, counseling for all Soldiers and the Military One-Source.
Military One Source is a place where there are numerous resources for Soldiers and family members, including tips on coping with redeployment and 12 free counseling sessions to Soldiers and family members.
“For family members, life goes on. For Soldiers, they have to step back into the role,” she said, adding that children may not be so receptive to redeploying Soldiers at first, and it may take time for families to get back together. The total time for reintegration can take up to 120 days.
While the process is difficult, there are numerous programs offered through Army community service, including financial reintegration, how to make schedules, organization within the home and others that can make the transition easier.
Wheeler can speak from personal experience, as her husband has deployed and she doesn’t always know what happened during her husband’s deployment.
“As a spouse, it’s really hard for me not to know what happened over there,” she said. “But I also understand why he doesn’t want to tell me everything. Transitions are really hard for military Families. And we have to be very resilient. If you’re not resilient and you don’t work with your Soldier one-on-one, it’s not going to work. You have to have a connection there.”
There are other military families who face challenges as well.
Spc. Keenan Butler serves as a combat medic with 4th IBCT and recently returned home to his wife Katie. The couple have not had any serious problems since their reunion but are happy that the military is there for them should any problems arise.
“We may get mad at each other sometimes,” she said. “We will need to try and communicate without getting stressed out at each other.”
Katie added the deployment was not fun with her husband deployed, she missed him a lot and is very happy to have her husband home.
Reintegration for family members is part of the mandatory 10-day training and all redeploying 4th IBCT Soldiers will go through it.
There are numerous resources available for Soldiers and their family members to deal with redeployments. For more information about them contact your unit chaplains, family life coordinator or Army community service.