By Mrs. Melody Everly (Drum)October 19, 2017
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Oct. 19, 2017) -- When a Soldier arrives at a new duty station, it can be a chaotic time. From medical appointments to mandatory training and paperwork, to registering vehicles and securing housing, a lot of work must be done before the Soldier can report to his or her unit.
Installation leaders recognize that this transitional period can be stressful not just for the Soldier, but for his or her Family, and they are committed to providing the support necessary to ensure that every member of the Army Family is welcomed and supported from the moment they arrive at Fort Drum, said Jim Garrett, Directorate of Human Resources' Military Personnel Branch chief.
"Our primary goal is to make sure that from the moment Soldiers arrive at Fort Drum, we are helping them to integrate into the community and into their units as smoothly as possible," he said. "The Army places a lot of emphasis on readiness. Readiness is a holistic thing -- a Soldier cannot concentrate on his or her mission when they are concerned with challenges that their Family may be facing. We are here to connect them with the resources and support that they need."
Fort Drum officials also realize the importance of providing Soldiers and their Families with adequate time to accomplish the tasks they need to complete in order to be able to thrive in their new environment.
"There are a lot of important things that a Soldier and his or her Family have to do when they first arrive at a new installation," Garrett said. "They need to have a designated period of time set aside to allow them to get settled in at their new duty station."
This is why Soldiers arriving at Fort Drum complete a mandatory 8 ? day in-processing program.
"The program allows the Soldier and their Family time to get their children enrolled in school, to become familiar with the area, and to start to get their new household routine established," he said.
During in-processing, representatives from organizations across the installation assist Soldiers in completing necessary financial and legal paperwork. Others teach mandatory training courses and provide information regarding programs and resources offered to Soldiers and Family Members at Fort Drum.
What Soldiers sometimes do not know is that spouses are not only welcome, they are encouraged to attend any of these classes or sessions, Garrett said.
"We know that our Soldiers look to their spouses for support when they are in the field or down range," he said. "But our military Family Members really are supporting their Soldier day in and day out, in so many ways. We have a multitude of great support programs to help them."
Some of the sessions that spouses have found particularly valuable include a Child and Youth Services briefing, presentations by staff members from several organizations within Army Community Service, information from staff members at Army Continuing Education Services, and much more.
A bus tour of the installation departs Clark Hall daily at 2 p.m., and provides an opportunity for newcomers to become familiar with the post facilities and history.
Another suggested session is Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Master Resiliency training. A requirement for all Soldiers arriving at Fort Drum, the course also can be especially helpful to spouses as they navigate the challenges inherent in adjusting to life at a new duty station.
"Moving your Family away from their community, their schools, their friends -- and sometimes your spouse's job -- can be very stressful," he said. "Providing this training during in-processing can help Soldiers and Families learn or review those coping skills that can really help them as they navigate these challenges."
Garrett emphasized that even if spouses are unable to attend a class or session while Soldiers are in-processing, they are welcome to attend at a later date. A full schedule of classes and sessions can be obtained by visiting the welcome desk in Clark Hall.
Individuals interested in attending a specific class are encouraged to call (315) 772-3043 to confirm the location and to ensure that adequate space is available.
Garrett said that Fort Drum officials are continuing to look into new ways of improving in-processing and disseminating helpful information to Soldiers and spouses.
"We want to make sure that our Soldiers and Families know about all the resources that are available, and we want to connect them to the organizations and the individuals who can help them to be successful at Fort Drum," he said.