by guest editor, Katherine Tiberghien
Family Readiness Groups are a Commanders program to keep family members in the loop of informational readiness. Although the name may tend to lend itself as being just for Family Members, it is for the ENTIRE unit, to include single Soldiers.
During deployments, many FRGs come together to do craft like things to send to their Soldiers overseas. For instance, my FRG just had a night to make Valentine’s Day cards for the Soldiers. They provided all the materials, all we had to do was bring the creativity.
Unfortunately, when I asked “Are we making cards for the Single Soldiers?” I was told, “NO.”
NO? Why not?
Single Soldiers are an important part of the FRG, and should be included in all functions. You do not know if those Soldiers are getting anything from anyone. Sure, we would like to believe that their parents and friends are sending them things, but the truth is, some do not have supportive parents. Sending them a card from the FRG may be worth more to them than anything else, because it shows that you CARE.
When married Soldiers return from deployments, they go back to their homes, which have food in the kitchen, sheets on the bed, and all the other “nice” things in a home. When Single Soldiers come back, they go to a barracks room with 4 empty blank white walls, no sheets, no food, no shower curtains, NOTHING. They do not get their belongings out of storage for at least 2 to 3 weeks. Wouldn’t be nice if the FRG could do SOMETHING for these Soldiers? Even if it is just getting government bedding and making the beds, providing some snack food and a shower curtain, is better than NOTHING. These Soldiers will appreciate the effort you put into THEM, and in return, will support your FRG in ways you thought were not possible.
In this high deployment stage of military life, let us not forget our Single Soldiers. They make up 47 percent of the Army, and deserve our respect and gratitude as well. It should be our responsibility, and our PLEASURE, to do something for these Soldiers, who have sacrificed just as much as our Married Soldiers.