FORT BRAGG, N.C. - It seems like a statement of the obvious. The manner in which Soldiers are received and integrated back into their home station following a deployment is a critical first step in the reset process. It is also essential to rebuilding a unit's combat power. However, operationalizing this statement requires a deliberate and well thought-out plan. The 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment took a proactive approach to ensure that its Soldiers, redeploying from a 15-month tour in Iraq, came back to a world-class reception in the barracks.
Based on experience from previous deployments and redeployments, the 3rd Bn., 4th ADAR battalion command team of Lt. Col. Rob Lyons and Command Sgt. Major Harold Lincoln, had established a vision. They sought to leverage the resources and capabilities of unit leaders, the Family Readiness Support Assistant and Family Readiness Group volunteers, the First Sergeant's Barracks Initiative program and local organizations to provide redeploying Soldiers a welcome home. Not just any welcome but one that was commensurate with the outstanding quality of service to the nation they had rendered during OIF.
To begin with, the battalion established a close working relationship with David Carter and Cephuse Baker, the FSBI coordinators for Smoke Bomb Hill Barracks facilities. Additionally, in order to obtain an effective relationship, 3rd Bn. 4th ADAR appointed Sgt. Timothy Brown to act as the liaison between the battalion and the FSBI coordinators. Carter and the garrison command team were able to ensure that a complete restoration of the barracks was accomplished on time and before the Soldiers returned home. The barracks were repainted, appliances were replaced where needed and new furniture and mattresses were installed, all in time to be ready for the return of nearly 420 Soldiers.
On the exterior of the barracks Lincoln established areas where Soldiers could relax and enjoy socializing by procuring numerous barbeque grills and picnic tables. This initiative has been an overwhelming success and Soldier after Soldier has come forward and expressed how much they enjoy having a nice outdoor area to relax and socialize after duty hours.
Simultaneous with the renovation of the barracks facilities the 3rd Bn., 4th ADAR FRSA, Shelby Roller, undertook an initiative with the battalion's FRG leaders to gather comfort items to place in the barracks rooms. These items included sheets, comforters, pillows, shower shoes and curtains, toiletries, laundry soap and even food stocked in their refrigerators. This was done so that when the Soldiers walked in, their rooms would already be set up and the Soldiers could relax and not worry about buying essential items right away. 1st Lt. Dave Lammers, Battery C, 3rd Bn., 4th ADAR Rear Detachment commander, said he asked all his Soldiers how the barracks were and they all said that their rooms looked great.
"The FRG did an awesome job placing sheets, bedding and food in our rooms. Everything was set. A Soldier could live in the room for about three days on the amount of food that was in the room, without going out. They truly went all out," said Spc. Julie Bakker, Btry. B, 3rd Bn., 4th ADAR.