By Ms. Sharon L Hartman (SMDC/ARSTRAT)September 23, 2009
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Chaplain (MAJ) Kevin Pies led Strong Bonds training for 20 Officers, Warrant Officers, Noncommissioned Officers and Soldiers with Alpha Detachment, 1st Space Company (JTAGS-Europe) in late August.
The Strong Bonds program is a preventative and educational program that advocates making better decisions on the front end of relationships, as well as better communication techniques and conflict resolution methods while in a relationship. The training was conducted Aug. 20-24 at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Caen, France. The location of the one-day training event gave the attendees some memorable sightseeing opportunities as well. Highlights included Normandy Beach, Normandy National Military Cemetery, the Normandy American Cemetery, the Belleau Wood Memorial and the 1st Infantry Division Memorial.
Sgt. 1st Class Charles L. Robinson III, who previously deployed to Iraq with the 1st Infantry Division before being assigned to Alpha Detachment, 1st Space Company, was promoted on Normandy Beach in front of the 1st Infantry Division Memorial. Robinson, along with Sgt. 1st Class Wilfredo Cabili and Spc. Kenneth Kamrowski, reverently laid a wreath at the Normandy National Military Cemetery.
Soldiers and family members from both Charlie Detachment (JTAGS Korea) and Delta Detachment (JTAGS Japan) are currently conducting Strong Bonds training at the Westin Resort in Busan, Korea and the Hilton Resort in Tokyo Bay, Japan, respectively.
Strong Bonds' funding is provided by a Department of Army Chief of Chaplains' Office Grant. The Grant is applied for annually and awarded based upon Soldier population and mission impact. In 2008, $104,000 was applied for and received in order to conduct these events for USASMDC/ARSTRAT in Colorado, Europe, Korea and Japan.