Strong Bonds makes for strong leaders
July 20, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Senior leaders assigned to the 3rd Sustainment Brigade, Third Infantry Division attended a Strong Bonds marriage retreat July 15 - 17 on Hilton Head Island, S.C.
The Strong Bonds program is open to married Soldiers of any rank and is designed to help them develop and strengthen bonds with their spouses through a series of classes, exercises and discussions. This particular retreat, however, was geared only to senior leaders within the brigade.
“Strong Bonds is important because it helps by providing the tools to make it through the struggles faced in life,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) William C. Prewitt, rear detachment chaplain assigned to 4th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. “Senior leaders are often under more stress because their decisions will affect everybody.”
“Soldiers should take advantage of Strong Bonds when the opportunity presents itself,” said Maj. Catherine C. Howard, the 3rd Sustainment Bde. personnel officer. “It’s a chance to take a break from the Army and your children. It’s all about you and your spouse.”
The program is also an integral part in the reintegration process following a deployment, said Maj. Howard, whose husband, Maj. Robert Howard, S3 officer in charge for 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, recently returned from a deployment in Iraq.
“I think with multiple deployments people get used to being alone,” said Maj. Howard. “Strong Bonds helps Soldiers and their Families find that balance between work and home, and being a parent and being a spouse.”
The program does not only benefit leaders by helping to relieve the stress associated with life at home and work but also affords them the knowledge to better help their Soldiers.
“It provides us with a good knowledge base so we are better able to help our Soldiers and point them in the right direction to seek more help when they need it,” said Maj. Howard.
The retreat to Hilton Head Island was designated for senior leaders only so they could enjoy the benefits of the program in an environment where they could feel more comfortable, said Col. Shawn M. Morrissey, 3rd Sustainment Brigade commander
While he feels it is important for all Soldiers to attend the program, he thinks both senior leaders and junior Soldiers alike will be able to take full advantage of the program if they participate in an environment where they feel the most comfortable and therefore more likely to open up and share in the experience.
“The Strong Bonds is a remarkable program that is terribly important for all to attend,” said Col. Morrissey. “I’m so glad the Army provides the resources that allow this program to be available. It sets the conditions for Soldiers to be better Soldiers and leaders to be better leaders.”