By Karl Weisel, USAG Wiesbaden Public AffairsOctober 23, 2008
WIESBADEN, Germany - After being deployed to places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, the last thing Soldiers want to do is sit through weeks of debriefings upon their return home.
With that in mind, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden officials are streamlining the reintegration process (comprised of seven half-day modules) to meet the U.S. Army Europe standard while providing for troops as well as possible.
"The garrison wants to make sure our redeploying Soldiers are reintegrated in the most efficient and smoothest manner," said Glen Moonilal, chief of plans and operations for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. "Having the seven, half-day schedule is meant to give them a regimented, yet relaxed way, to move from a combat environment to a non-combat environment."
Getting returnees reintegrated and back together with family and friends quickly is the goal, he said, while helping them fulfill medical, financial and personnel processing needs.
"The reintegration program also educates them about some of the services the garrison provides," Moonilal said, explaining that during the homecoming week, Soldiers have the opportunity to meet community service providers. "It's a three-fold process that starts during pre-deployment, continues while deployed and extends into reintegration.
"Every effort is being made to accommodate all of the predictable needs of the returning Soldiers," he said. Accordingly, garrison leaders have worked closely with rear detachments and forward-operating units such, as the 1st Armored Division, through weekly meetings and video teleconferences to, as Moonilal described it, "synchronize all of the requirements. The garrison's primary focus for November and December is reintegration of the 1st Armored Division."
With representatives of the chapel, Army Community Service, Housing, Sexual Assault Prevention Program, Army Substance Abuse Program, Transportation, Finance, Household Goods, Legal, Claims, Safety, banks and other agencies on hand during the reintegration process, the intent is to ensure Soldiers have the opportunity to accomplish personal reintegration tasks such as reactivating car insurance and replacing an expired driver's license while undergoing medical, dental and other screenings to ensure any health issues are identified and addressed for future treatment.
"The entire staffs of the health and dental clinics will be dedicated to the reintegration screening," Moonilal said. During that time, community members should be aware that morning appointments at the clinics may not always be available while redeploying Soldiers are assisted. Regular appointments will still be scheduled, but patrons should keep in mind that reintegrating Soldiers have priority."
Individuals planning on retiring or leaving the service also have the chance to learn how the Army Career and Alumni Program can assist in transitioning to civilian status.
Spouses are invited to participate in the program's Communication and Relationships briefing, Moonilal said, with free child care provided
Overall, mandated briefings have been streamlined to be informative and easy to digest, Moonilal said. "Nothing has been added in - we're not trying to waste anybody's time."
In general, providing one-stop, centralized reintegration for reprocessing needs is the program's intent.
With reintegration designed in modules or blocks of briefings and screenings, Moonilal noted that service providers will better be able to adjust to unscheduled flights and arrivals. In some cases, these modules might be presented in a slightly different order, depending on when flights arrive and when Soldiers return to USAG Wiesbaden.
"One important thing for Soldiers downrange (to take care of) is to confirm that their privately owned vehicle insurance is up to date. In the past we've had problems with Soldiers trying to retrieve their vehicles - a few days delay - when the insurance had expired," said Moonilal.
Besides giving married Soldiers plenty of time to spend with their families in the afternoons after the half-day modules, families will also be able to take part in various special entertainment events being planned by Wiesbaden Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation special event coordinators. And single Soldiers will be greeted by renovated barracks - part of the Corps of Engineers' flagship projects to enhance Soldier quality of life - along with items donated by the Special Troops Battalion family readiness liaisons and Family Readiness Groups, and other special FMWR offerings.