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CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Family members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team now have a 24-hour, worldwide resource for information on their soldiers, mission and military forms.

Earlier this month, the 2nd Infantry Division launched a “Virtual Family Readiness Group” on the Internet, a nod to the fact that upwards of 90 percent of 2nd ID soldiers are on unaccompanied tours.

With family members spread throughout the United States — throughout the world in some cases of foreign spouses — the division faced a challenge adapting the traditional Army family services to a deployment that’s anything but routine.

“It’s the best medium to communicate worldwide. The Army has invested a lot in this capability to support the 2nd Brigade Combat Team and their family members worldwide. It will continue to be the best way for our family members across the world to gain information,” Col. Thomas DeVine, 2nd ID Aviation Brigade commander and officer responsible for family readiness, said in a division statement.

“Family members can provide feedback to us and get information from us. No matter what time of the day, we will be there for them.”

A prototype of the Web site, at www.desertstrike.armyfrg.org, was launched on Aug. 4. Officials said a beefed-up version, with battalion-level information and family readiness groups, will become active Aug. 25.

Among other downloads, the site features maps of the Middle East, the Family Readiness Group Handbook, information about preventing computer viruses and the “Army One Source,” a guide that touches on everything from banking to parenting to relocation.

Other downloads in the “Command Information” section of the Web site include information on finance issues and deployment entitlements, along with banking and postal forms.

One section of the Web site features answers to frequently asked questions, or FAQs. Among the questions: Where is the unit going; how long will it be there; what if I have to contact a soldier due to an emergency?

The answers: an undisclosed area in “central Iraq;” 12 months; and, contact the nearest Red Cross office by telephone or the www.redcross.org Web site, or, contact the 2nd Infantry Division’s Rear Detachment in South Korea.

The FAQ also has a section addressing rumors. So far, the only rumor addressed is whether the 2nd Brigade will redeploy to South Korea after its Iraq deployment or return to a stateside location.

“The unit has not been notified of its follow-on mission after the deployment to Iraq. Historically, following major military operations some units did not return to their previous basing locations,” the Web site states. “The 2nd Brigade Combat Team, like most units in the Army, will be worldwide deployable at the end of its mission to Iraq.”


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