PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Aug. 24, 2021) – As a military spouse for 18 years, Margo Kwasnoski knows the value of attending a military spouse orientation at a new duty station.
“I always feel as though I have so much to learn,” said Kwasnoski, who arrived here three weeks ago and was one of about a dozen spouses who attended the Presidio of Monterey Military Spouse Orientation Aug. 23. “Every assignment is unique and different and poses different challenges.”
The orientation included 12 in-person briefings on a variety of subjects such as health care, housing and Army Community Service programs, and took place in the General Stilwell Community Center at the Ord Military Community. Participants observed COVID 19 mitigation measures such as wearing masks, social distancing and using hand sanitizer.
Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Londers, command sergeant major, U.S. Army Garrison Presidio of Monterey, told spouses that installation officials organized the orientation to help ensure they receive important information that will improve their lives at PoM.
“Our service members are the strength of our nation, but the strength of our service members are their families,” Londers said. “If there’s anything that we can do to provide services and support to make your tour here at the Presidio of Monterey better, it’s what we’re here for.”
Military spouse orientations are important because while service members participate in the Joint Services In-Processing Briefing when they arrive at PoM, they don’t always share that information with their spouses, Londers said.
The orientation lasted two and a half hours and included a variety of food and drink for participants. Organizers also made toys available in the back of the room so parents could bring their children.
Several spouses indicated that PoM was their first duty station, and among them was Emily Daub, a military spouse whose husband attended basic training in February.
Daub said she learned a lot of useful information and appreciated that organizers printed presentation slides so she would have phone numbers handy.
“A lot of the information would have been helpful to know [before we moved here], but even now, it’s helpful to have the information now going forward to future stations as well as continuing here,” Daub said.
Kwasnoski, meanwhile, said she thinks organizers struck the right balance of information and did not overwhelm new military spouses with too much.
“It’s a lot to take in … so it can be very overwhelming, but I think it was very good, a nice welcoming environment and friendly faces,” Kwasnoski said. “And even if somebody doesn’t retain everything, at least they have a contact.”
Charles Lyons, a PoM Army Community Service program specialist and the orientation’s organizer, said this is the installation’s second military spouse orientation, and he plans to hold them monthly. The next one is from 9:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 20, also at the General Stilwell Community Center.
Military spouse orientations are important because they help spouses know about services available to them within the military community, Lyons said.
“They come and get this information and it builds resiliency in families,” Lyons said.
To register for the next PoM Military Spouse Orientation, contact Lyons at (831) 242-6890 or email email@example.com. Registration is required.