Families to get information on variety of topics regarding GIs’ return
HEIDELBERG, Germany — Top Army officials in Europe are preparing an information road show for family members of soldiers returning home from Iraq.
“This is going to be a reintegration briefing targeted at families, family readiness groups and the rear detachments of those units that will be redeploying from Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said Col. Eddie Stephens, chief of plans and policies from the Army’s European headquarters in Heidelberg. The concept, he said, is to answer questions and help everyone understand what to expect as units begin arriving.
The two-hour series of briefings will include information on:
• Reintegration process: Stephens will provide an overview of the 45-day reintegration program that has been established by the Army, including a detailed breakdown on what to expect during the first week soldiers are home.• Finance: Col. Kevin Troller, commander of the 266th Finance Command, will tackle pay and benefits questions and outline how paychecks will change as deployment stipends, such as combat pay, are turned off.• Medical support: Brig. Gen. Elder Granger, commander of the Army’s medical command in Europe, will explain soldier health issues, including required blood tests, health assessments, and how to get follow-on medical care because of injury or sickness while soldiers were deployed.• Spiritual: Chaplain (Col.) Kenneth Leinwand, the Army’s top chaplain in Europe, will outline the spiritual, psychological and emotional implications of reunion and programs available to help.• Housing and storage issues: Russ Hall, head of the Army Installation Management Agency Europe, will explain how to get privately owned vehicles out of storage, how to deal with problems getting back into quarters, and how to obtain any support needed from the garrison, as well as how to get enrolled in the new Installation Access Control System.• Schools: Diana Ohman, director of Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe, will focus on children and the impact of redeployment on parenting as well as how to help kids with reunion anxiety.• Legal: Col. Mike Neveu, the Army’s top lawyer in Europe, will discuss how to handle legal claims for damage to property as well as tax questions.• Career management: Col. Jon Finke, commander of the 1st Personnel Command, will address how to update records, get new ID cards, and other personnel actions.• Military civilians: Jeannie Davis, chief of civilian personnel for the Army in Europe, will focus on issues specific to military civilian employees.
The first set of briefings are slated for Jan. 27 at Heidelberg’s Patrick Henry Village Pavilion from 10 a.m. to noon. The briefing comes as the Heidelberg-based V Corps headquarters and support units make their final preparations to return from Iraq after some 14 months in the Middle East.
All family members are strongly encouraged to attend, Stephens said.
Video teleconferences will be available for those in outlying communities for the 26th Area Support Group.
Military officials are preparing programs for family members to assist with the soldiers’ return from Iraq. Programs will be held at a number of locations. Interested families should contact their family readiness group or their Base Support Battalion for more details.
• Darmstadt, Cambrai-Fritsch Casern, Army Community Service, Building 4008, as well as 22nd Signal Battalion headquarters, Building 4005.• Babenhausen, ACS, Building 4515.• Mannheim, Funari Barracks, 5th Signal Command headquarters conference room.• Kaiserslautern, Pulaski Barracks, Building 2874.
Meanwhile, as the 1st Armored Division prepares to follow V Corps home to Germany, officials are planning briefings in Wiesbaden, Baumholder and Friedberg. Dates for those briefings should be announced soon.
— Jon R. Anderson