Family Readiness Group academy set up to assist growing 2nd ID
CAMP CASEY, South Korea — Army Community Services (ACS) has created a Family Readiness Group (FRG) academy to support the rapid growth of the organizations within the 2nd Infantry Division.
Area I ACS social services representative Faith Barnes said the academy will hold monthly symposiums to help incoming 2nd ID unit commanders and family readiness-group liaisons run the groups. The groups themselves are usually organized by soldiers’ spouses to provide support at company, battalion, brigade and division levels.
The first 2nd ID group was formed when the 2nd Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq in 2004. The 2nd BCT’s on-line FRG served as the blueprint for an Army-wide system of virtual FRGs that debuted in October. Another 2nd ID FRG was established early this year for the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team. And now every 2nd ID battalion has an FRG, Barnes said.
Community Services ran its first FRG symposium at Camp Casey in July and began the monthly series of symposiums at the base on Tuesday, she said.
About 25 soldiers and spouses from 2nd ID’s Special Troops Battalion and the 302nd Brigade Support Battalion attended Tuesday’s meeting. The session included presentations on non-combatant evacuation operation exercises, requirements for non-American spouses and children to immigrate to the United States, marriage in South Korea, fund-raising, recruiting and retaining FRG volunteers and U.S. Forces Korea’s policy on FRGs, Barnes said.
“The policy reinforces the fact that FRGs are not private organizations. They are part of the commander’s unit,” she said.
302nd soldier Spc. Seth Alexander, 27, attended the meeting with his Filipina wife Marilou, 26, and their 10-month old daughter Shalena.
The couple is well into the U.S. immigration paperwork for Marilou but attended to get some extra information on the process, Alexander said.
Another soldier at the meeting, STB FRG liaison Sgt. Jeremy Meadows, 34, of Monroe, Mich., said his unit’s FRG had been running for four months.
“We are growing exponentially every month. It started out being mostly just the chain of command. It is trickling down to the soldiers who are seeing it as a resource. We have gone from a few members to over 40 at our last meeting,” he said.
Each month the battalion’s FRG holds a meeting with a guest speaker. So far the group has hosted Tricare health plan and Army Family Team Building experts and this month a speaker will address overseas housing allowance questions, Meadows said.
“The FRG is a great program,” he said. “I’d encourage the chain of command to support it the best they can and give their soldiers time to get involved. It is a great way to bring the community together.”