• November 26, 2014

Families prepare for soldiers’ redeployment transitions

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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 4:30 am

Family members from the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, gathered at Club Hood on Aug. 12 to receive advice and information about their soldiers’ redeployment that will take place in the upcoming months.

Units from brigade have been deploying regularly throughout the Central Command area of operations even though many units’ deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have slowed. The headquarters element of the “Lightning Strike” Brigade left at the beginning of the year and is expected to return in the next few months.

The headquarters battery decided to take some time to meet with families to discuss challenges that may present themselves when their loved ones return.

Capt. Matthew Allen, battery commander, advised families to stay flexible as they ease back into the rhythm of life at home.

“Communication is key,” said Doris Arnett, a mobilization and deployment specialist on post.

Couples can avoid being let down by their expectations not matching reality by simply communicating with deployed soldiers during the months leading up to their return. It is important for each person to express what he or she would like to happen during the first day or few days of redeployment, Arnett said.

Not only is redeployment an adjustment for the adults involved, but it is an adjustment for the children as well.

Parents need to communicate with their children before the other parent returns to address any concerns that the child may have. Reintegration with children can sometimes be just as difficult, if not more difficult, than with adults, Arnett said.

If families are finding it hard to reintegrate, there are many agencies and people on post with the ability to help with the transition. People can get assistance from the unit’s military family life consultant, the chaplain, Army Community Service, Military One Source, and, of course, the soldier’s chain of command.

“(Redeployment) is not an event — it’s a process,” Arnett said. Families must ask “What’s going to work for us now?” People change over time, and what worked before the deployment may not work the same way upon return.

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