Dear faceless MWR survey person,

I received your Army Family Covenant Survey at my Army Knowledge Online.

I also received the message that you may not have intended to send, but was clearly understood: Army Reserve soldiers’ opinions aren’t important.

The first two questions in your survey ask about our garrison region and our garrison name. Thus, your survey invalidates itself in the first two questions by excluding a significant population of the Army.

Here’s a clue: Army Reserve soldiers usually don’t have garrisons. Most Reserve centers are significant distances from most Army garrisons. And, since this is a Family Covenant survey, many Army Reserve families have never set foot on an Army garrison because of the distance. The closest Army garrison to my home is more than 90 miles away, and neither I nor my family has ever utilized Morale, Welfare and Recreation activities on that post.

Another clue: Our MWR support often comes from another service’s garrison. It is telling that the Air Force family support program from our nearby Air Force Base "garrison" has taken better care of my family on this deployment than the Army has on either of my previous two.

How can you draw valid conclusions if, from the outset, the Reserve part of the survey population either perceives that the survey only applies to active-duty soldiers, or is guessing at an answer? If you included family members with AKO accounts, how would a Reserve spouse even know how to answer these first two questions?

Clearly, the Army Family Covenant is only for active-duty soldiers.

After almost eight years of conflict, in which the Reserve components have played a significant and ongoing role, back home there are still two armies. Message received. Again.

Lt. Col. Charles ShermanBaghdad

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