Most units will require the soldier to attend if the family members are unable to be there. If at all possible, you should try to attend the pre-deployment briefing. My husband’s unit always scheduled multiple times to accommodate different schedules. I always found the briefings to be useful.
This is my own experience with a pre-deployment briefing. The unit would go over some basics of the deployment giving us a general idea of where they would be, how long they would be gone and how they expected communication to be. They would also give us the address where we could write and send care packages. Their deployment address was the same every deployment. I can still use the same address to send to guys in his unit when they are gone.
They also brought in various people from post to speak about the services they offered. ACS, Tricare, Chaplain, Finance and several others were usually in attendance. They typically gave a quick overview of their services and how they could be reached during the deployment. JAG was also present to draw up Power of Attorneys and Wills for those who needed those documents.
In addition, we were always given our own chain of command with a chart that showed who we should contact if there were problems during the deployment. The chain of command for spouses was:
Spouse – Key Caller – FRG Leader – Rear D – Command
Even though some spouses circumvented this chain, it is best to stay within it so that things run smoothly during deployment.
We were also given a schedule of FRG meetings as well as when we would receive phone calls. For my husband’s unit, we received a phone call each time there was an injury in his unit. This differs by unit and I recently found out that this is not the norm for most units. If they don’t go over this information, ask to find out when you can expect phone calls from the FRG. We also received phone calls about events that were being hosted by the FRG. If for some reason, we didn’t have a phone call go out for two weeks, they would implement a welfare check where everyone was called just to check in.
Finally, they should go over the procedure about who you should notify if you go out of town. For us, we had to notify our key caller of an address and phone number of where we would be. Do not make your husband’s unit hunt you down if they need to get important information to you. Keep them informed of your whereabouts during a deployment.
The pre-deployment briefing is always very informative and gives you information and resources that can make the deployment easier for you and your family. Do not miss this opportunity.