By Sgt Robert Schaffner, Jr., 4th IBCT, 3rd ID Public AffairsJune 30, 2010
FORT STEWART, Ga. - As Soldiers get ready to deploy, they must also prepare their Family Members to cope with their absence. Deploying is more than training exercises, packing equipment and getting on a plane. It's a lot more than that. What does your Family do if there is a hurricane back home' Who will take care of the children' Who does the spouse contact when the washer is broken, and there is not enough money in the checking account' How does your Family contact you if there is an emergency back home'
To help answer those questions and more, the Army Community Service hosted a Pre-Deployment Briefing and Fair for Soldiers and Family Members of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart's Caro Gym, June 14-25.
Soldiers assigned to the 4th IBCT, who began deploying to Iraq, June 26, had the opportunity to visit with approximately 50 garrison support agencies to prepare their Families for the year-long separation, and to learn more about available services.
"The goal of the fair is to provide Family Members with information and direct access to the resource," said Linda Moseley, Mobilization and Deployment manager for Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield. "The interactive fair enables the Soldiers and Family Members to meet and speak with the various agencies and ask questions and get answers now, versus just handing the Families a piece of paper to read over."
Not all Soldiers who attended the event were married or accompanied by Family Members.
"I was able to find the information I was looking for," said Pvt. Kenicky Holmes, a single Soldier and human resource specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th IBCT. "The one particular thing I was looking for was information about the Red Cross that I can give to my parents back home. This is my first deployment, so I am looking to get as much information as possible."
For Soldiers and Family Members who have been through multiple deployments, the ACS fair served as a refresher for services available.
"The fair has been very beneficial," said Lynda Melby, spouse of Sgt. Bryan Melby, a fire support specialist assigned to HHC, 4th IBCT. "This is our second deployment; I was able to get back on the list with the Family Readiness Group that I was not on since our last move, and I was also able to get some useful information from Military One Source."
According to Moseley, the success rate of the fair based on the survey cards filled out by Soldiers and Families has been 99.8 percent, and the services Families requested most were legal and identification cards.
"We came here today for an ID card and legal services," said Emily Dagon, spouse of Maj. Patrick Dagon, a Stability Transition Team member assigned to HHC, 4th IBCT. "We were also able to meet with the (Family Readiness Group) members, which was really good."
For anyone who was not able to attend the Soldier and Family Pre-Deployment Fair, contact ACS at 912-767-5058 for more information.
"Last night we were here till 10 p.m.," said Moseley. "We don't leave until the last person is cared for."