Family readiness leaders and volunteers with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are ramping up to ensure soldiers and families are prepared and supported during the brigade’s nine-month rotation to South Korea, set to begin in February.
“In preparation for this deployment, we’ve conducted two deployment fairs for families with local agencies, such as Red Cross, Child and Youth Services, Tricare, legal assistance and many others,” said Debbi Nash-King, family readiness support assistant for the brigade. “Our family readiness groups are ready to engage.”
More than 4,000 soldiers with the brigade are deploying to South Korea, and will replace the 1st Cavalry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat that is currently there.
Families can face many challenges when soldier are deployed, such as navigating a seemingly complex military system for medical care, pay issues, replacing identification cards and paperwork and many other hurdles, as well as external challenges such as vehicle and home maintenance, bills and childcare.
“Everything you need to survive a deployment begins with participating in your family readiness group,” said Nash-King. “The resources we have to offer can make life easier when a piece of the puzzle is missing.”
Capt. Cathy Zimmerman, with the 1st Brigade’s 115th Brigade Support Battalion, has been on both sides of the fence. She’s been the spouse of a deployed soldier and has deployed herself.
Her husband, Capt. Steve Thompson, a company commander in 2nd Brigade, is currently deployed to South Korea.
“The FRGs are a foundation for our families to build on so we can support each other through a difficult time,” said Zimmerman, who serves as an assistant FRG leader in her husband’s company’s family readiness group.
Besides participating in the FRG, Zimmerman had one other piece of advice for surviving a deployment.
“Just be involved,” said Zimmerman. “Keep an open communication flow of daily business. Don’t let your spouse be out of the loop.”
For more information, families and service members should contact their unit’s FRG. In addition, there is supplemental information at www.militaryonesource.mil or by calling 1-800-342-9647.