By Russell Sellers, Army Flier StaffNovember 12, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Soldiers and spouses new to flight school took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about what the coming years have in store for them Nov. 3.
The twice-monthly meeting, hosted at the Family Support Facility, is meant to give Soldiers in flight school and their Families a chance to learn more about the things they could experience during their time here, said Maj. Derek Smith, B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment commander.
It was also meant to help alleviate some worries spouses may have about their Soldiers not being around for long periods of time.
"This is an introduction to what the (flight school) Family group is, and is not, to the flight school student," he said. "We're trying to help them get an idea of how the flight school pipeline works and help them create a social network with each other."
Soldiers who attended the meeting are currently in the Basic Officer Leadership Course and have yet to fly any aircraft. Most brought their Families with them to give them a better idea of what the next few months will be like.
"I give the spouses an overview of what flight school is and what courses the Soldiers will go through," said Maj. Andrew Herzberg, D Co., 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt. commander. "I also go over why the Army feels Family readiness groups are important."
Herzberg told the attendees that establishing good relationships with each other is beneficial.
"When Soldiers are going through (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) school, they will be out of touch with everyone for three weeks, and it's usually during that time that something happens and you'll need help," Herzberg said. "That's why it's good to have established relationships here, so you have someone you can call if you need help."
Having good working relationships can also help Soldiers and Families when they prepare to permanently change station, he added.
"If you've got a buddy from flight school who's been in the place you're going to, they can tell you about their experiences and help you make that transition much easier," Herzberg said.
Army Community Service representatives shared available opportunities with spouses and how they can make the most of their time here.
"We have the Employment Readiness Program that helps spouses find jobs," said Beth Gunter, ACS financial counselor. "We also can show them how to monitor their credit and get credit reports. There are also lots of good investment opportunities available to them and we try to help guide them to those."
ACS is also a source of information for Soldiers and Families, said Deborrah Cisneros, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Ecxellence Family readiness support assistant.
"We want to show Soldiers and Families that we're here for more than to just deal with problems," she said. "We have a lot of valuable information and can help prevent issues if people take advantage of the information we make available to them."
WO1 Greg Swanson, B Co., 1st Bn., 145th Avn. Regt., and his wife, Kristen, said they were glad they decided to go to the meeting because it was a valuable learning experience. Kristen said she thinks the meetings are helpful, especially to those who are unfamiliar with the military.
"I've heard a lot of this in general, but having the specific information is much better," Kristen said. "The best thing about it is getting such definitive answers about the timeline and being able to meet people and knowing we have somebody to call if we need to. It helps to make us feel like we're not so on our own."
The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 17 at the Family Support Facility in Bldg. 8950.
For more information, call 255-0960.