Baumholder opens new room for families
Stars and Stripes March 16, 2008
BAUMHOLDER, Germany — The concept isn’t new — set aside a special place where families of deployed soldiers can assemble.
So-called Yellow Ribbon rooms have been a fixture for deploying units during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And on Thursday, the 47th Forward Support Battalion in Baumholder opened its room. But as the unit sets out for a third deployment to Iraq, Lt. Col Michel Russell said his soldiers and spouses put in extra effort this time around to set the room apart.
“We wanted to step beyond the last deployment,” Russell said. “If the family members aren’t happy, then soldiers will have a harder time doing their mission.”
While the soldiers are on the job south of Baghdad, family members will be able to stay connected with soldiers on the 47th FSB’s four computers and Web cameras. The room will be open around the clock, seven days a week.
The room also includes children DVDs, a changing table, books, toys and couches.
The 47th FSB will soon deploy for Iraq with the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. During the 15-month deployment, the computers in particular will get heavy usage, said spouse Jennifer Maxwell.
“Not everyone has Internet access. This will definitely come in handy for families,” she said.
During odd hours, when the library and its computer lab are closed, families can drop by the 47th FSB headquarters to send e-mail or check for word from downrange.
Maxwell, a 47th FSB family readiness group leader, said the space will also be ideal for holding meetings. While the spouses talk business, the children can stay busy with the books, toys and DVDs, she said.
Russell added: “This took about three months of work, mostly by volunteers. We wanted to make it as nice as we could.”