By Col. Dave HallApril 2, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - We are an Army at war, and we recognize that both our Soldiers and our Families are making sacrifices every day.
With deployment being a significant reality of Army life, it is imperative that our Soldiers go on their mission with the certainty that their spouses and children have our support.
The reality is that deployments to certain locations are long, unpredictable and dangerous. This puts significant stresses on Soldiers, spouses and children. The Army has built powerful responses to these challenges, but it is not enough to just say "we have the services you need."
We now know from research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that some Army children touched by parental deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan are at greater risk for child neglect.
The research confirms that the tremendous stresses (parenting alone, anxiety for the parent in harm's way) experienced by Families contribute to the problems associated with higher increases of injury and abuse.
Now, more than ever, we have to demonstrate our commitment to provide our children and their parents and caregivers with a strong supportive environment where children can be safe and thrive. The quality of life for our Families must match the quality of their Soldier's service.
As the USAG-Yongsan Commander, I ask that you rededicate yourselves to protecting our children here on the home front. We have to mobilize everyone in our community to play a role in supporting child abuse prevention.
Therefore, our Child Abuse Prevention Month and Month of the Military Child campaigns for 2008 must reinforce the promises of the Army Family Covenant. Just as we give full support to the force, so we have to give full support to the Families.
We are Army Strong. Now, we need to show that we are Army and Community Strong in keeping children and families safe.