The care team of 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gained hands-on experience Thursday in dealing with an emergency scenario.
As part of training arranged by its family readiness support assistant, Cleo McDonald, through Army Community Service and the Fort Hood Casualty Assistance Center, the event presented volunteers with a mock scenario.
A trio of “Black Knight” soldiers acted as family members, while the care team ran through the drill as if they were dealing with an actual family in crisis.
Despite the lighthearted atmosphere the mock scenario provided, the purpose of care teams is typically to deal with grave situations.
“The scenarios we’re using are real situations provided by the Fort Hood Casualty Assistance Center,” McDonald said. “They’re from the past 10 years, but none are from 2nd Brigade.”
Ann Joose, care team leader and senior advisor to the battalion’s family readiness group, listened carefully to the briefing and discussed the situation with her team. Initially, the team leader will visit the family with the chaplain to do an assessment of their specific needs, she said.
Following the assessment, if a care team is requested, she will report back to her team members and they’ll create a plan for providing care. The most common types of assistance given are meal preparation, childcare and help with answering phone calls and dealing with visitors to the home. Many of the services provided are dependent on the individual needs of each family, McDonald said.
Care teams typically assist families in need for 72 hours. Beyond that time, out-of-town family members have usually arrived to take the reigns from the care team. Teams may be of service longer in special circumstances, and the commander may give approval for them to do so, said McDonald, whose role is strictly administrative.
“The purpose of this training is to allow the team to assess what they’re doing right and wrong,” McDonald said. They wish to avoid making the same mistakes other teams have made in the past.
These trainings are especially relevant because the whole brigade is currently deployed.
“We’re going to try to do this every quarter,” Joose said.
Following the first of two brief scenarios, rear detachment commander Lt. Col. Michael Kielpinski thanked the care team members on behalf of the whole Black Jack team.
“Volunteers are the backbone of the family readiness group. I appreciate you taking time out of your life (for this).”