STUTTGART, Germany — Family members and military leaders will be gathering in Garmisch all week, working to identify a host of issues facing the overseas military community and try to come up with solutions.

The annual U.S. European Command Quality-of-Life Conference will be held at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, pulling in participants from across Europe.

"What we find is that military people are military people and they experience some of the same things in different locations," said Wayne Boswell, EUCOM’s quality-of-life chief.

In the past year, the EUCOM quality-of-life staff has solved or closed 19 issues from previous conferences. Initiatives established as a result of past forums include a compassion fatigue program that supports caregivers, a simulated driver education program, and a policy that helps families avoid upfront out-of-pocket costs for dental care on the economy.

Expanding access to "space available" flights for single parents who must return children stateside before deployments is another policy that has emerged from the EUCOM meeting.

"That’s why this conference has been so successful. It truly is a working conference," Boswell said.

This year, the agenda is broad, though there are a couple of key areas that participants will be looking at, such as the needs of wounded warriors and their families. The team also will examine challenges facing care providers, such as chaplains, day care workers and counselors.

"Are we giving them the tools? If they’re not being equipped the right way then we are all not going to be successful," Boswell said.

The focus groups will be broken down into different groups:

Relocation and HousingMilitary and Family Deployment SupportWounded Warrior and Mental and Physical HealthcareSingle Service MembersTeen/Youth and Dependent Education"The bottom line is quality of life is providing them (families) the same support, equal to or better than, they would receive in the nation they serve," Boswell said.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

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