FORT HOOD, Texas (Army News Service, April 30, 2008) - The new commander at Fort Hood reiterated that Family Readiness Groups are essential tools for passing information from the command to every member of the unit when he met his troops on April 22, setting several goals to prepare Soldiers and Families for deployment.

The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Family Readiness Group had the chance to restart the flow of information at its first meeting with their new commander, Lt. Col. Quinton Arnold.

"Being the new commander, having been in command for four weeks, I wanted to make sure that they met me, knew who I was and got straight from me what I think family readiness is all about," he said.

"It's an all day, every day, all year-long event," said Arnold. "It's not just for deployments."

Arnold has plans to make his new unit's FRG stronger.

"I wanted them to understand the importance to me of the family readiness group, and what the family readiness group does for us as families and for us as Soldiers," he said.

Arnold said he has several goals for the FRG to meet in the upcoming months. The first goal is for families to know what resources are available to them on post.

"I can't make them go there, but I can at least help them understand what is available so they know where to go when they need some help," said Arnold.

Next, he wants to make sure "once they understand what is available they are maximizing the use of those resources," he said.

The main goal is to make sure Families are ready for the unit's next deployment to the National Training Center, and for the longer deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom, he said.

"NTC is a full dress rehearsal, so to speak, for that deployment," said Arnold.

When the Soldiers deploy to the center in California, it will give the FRGs a chance to find out what they need to fix before the deployment to Iraq.

"So that when you deploy, you have a functioning FRG and your family readiness is where it needs to be," said Arnold.

Arnold wanted to point out that FRGs are not just for married Soldiers and their Families.

"It's for single Soldiers as well," he said. "I'm a single Soldier, and my parents always want to know what is going on."

Arnold said his parents are involved in his deployments and are the first people to meet him when he redeploys.

"For single Soldiers, having their parents tie into an FRG, it is a critical piece for that Soldier," said Arnold.

The commander also wanted to emphasize the strength the FRG can give Soldiers and their Families.

"It ties you to a unit, it gives you access to information and resources that you didn't normally have out there by yourself," said Arnold. "If rumors are flying, you can reach out and touch somebody and find out what is really going on."

(Spc. Ben Fox serves with the 3rd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs Office)