By Spc. Dustin Gautney, 2nd BCT, 3rd ID Public AffairsOctober 17, 2008
FORT STEWART, GA -- The Desert Rogues of 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, completed reintegration phase II at Club Stewart, after 90 days of "boots-on-the-ground," following their return from a 15-month deployment, Oct. 7.
"Ninety days after redeployment is a crucial time for Soldiers and Families after the honeymoon of returning after a deployment," said Lt. Col. Ross Coffman, 1/64th Armor. "Three to six months after redeployment is when potential risks and majority of issues may arise for the Soldier and the Family."
The Soldiers and Families of 1/64th Armor filled the various banquet rooms of Club Stewart, as representatives from the Family advocacy, finance, mental health, Winn Nutrition Care Division Clinic, base housing, Community Youth Services, and 1/64th Armor chaplain preformed a round-robin presentation.
After a 10-minute presentation, Soldiers and Family Members were able to speak to the on-post services representatives one-on-one.
"We would not have been able to do this without the on-post services coming out and providing education and points of contact for the Soldiers and Families," Coffman said.
Yonzell Varnedoe, a nutrition specialist with Winn Army Hospital, nutrition care clinic division, offered troops advice on how to readjust to the change of diet since returning from a deployment.
"You have two weeks and that's it," said Varnedoe, warning Soldiers who wanted to take advantage of junk food and other foods otherwise not available to them while deployed. Additionaly the Soldiers might interrupt any healthier diets that Family and spouses may be focused on.
With Army physical fitness tests coming for the Soldiers, now is the time they need to readapt to a healthier choice when choosing meals, she said.
During the initial 10-day reintegration, following the Desert Rogues redeployment, only
Soldiers were allowed to attend and were briefed about on-post services by unit leaders.
Reintegration phase II was designed with the Army Family in mind, giving the opportunity for Family Members to hear what services are available to them from on-post services, as well as provide points of contact should the services ever be needed in the future, said Coffman.
"When we first came back from deployment it was just the Soldiers and we didn't have all of the on-post services come out and speak to us," said Sgt. Corey Bradley, Forward Support Company, 1/64th Armor, who attended the reintegration phase II with his two daughters, Crystal, 6, Jayelle, 5, and son, Corey Jr., 3.
"Having the representatives come out and speaking with the Soldiers has been very helpful," said Bradley. "Since Soldiers were able to bring there Families this time they were able to receive some of the information first hand."
"Soldiers and Family are our greatest asset," said Coffman. "Whether 99.9 percent of the Soldiers and Family Members may never use much of the on-post Family services then we as Soldiers have done our job for our Families and fellow Soldiers, however most importantly if that .1 percent learned something valuable today to take with them, then we still have accomplished our mission."