Three of Us

Three of Us

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hey All!

I have had the wonderful opportunity to partake in a compilation of Army Wife essays thanks to Kate, Martha and Ginna! These three women have come up with the wonderful idea of collecting essays from across the globe to create a book of stories from actual Army Wives. I will keep you posted on the progress and success of this project. If you want to read more about these ladies, you can follow them on their Blog.

Below is my story about my first Army friends (the other 4 women in this blog!), and how WE came to be linked forever!

Army Roots

As a young child, I remember the ease of the school playground. When I was new to school, all I had to do to make my first friend was say, “I like your sweater!” And Angela and I became best friends for the next several years. As years went on, we no longer played on the little kid’s playground, but we gathered in the halls of our high school and were either popular or not just by image, clothing, or a specific social circle. I absolutely loved high school, my friends, boyfriends and my extracurricular activities. I basically “rolled with the punches” all through my high school and college days. Life was simple.

When my husband (then fiancĂ©) and I decided that we were going to begin this Army life together, I was quite terrified. I had lived in a world of comfort and simplicity. I knew everyone, every place, and everything around me. When I heard the term “Army,” much like any other civilian, I immediately thought… DEPLOYMENT! Yes, soldiers in the Army do deploy, but there is more to Army life than merely deployment alone.

When I looked at the world around me, I realized that even though our immediate family and friends were not familiar with the military world, it did not mean that I was alone. Ok – so maybe it took me a while to comprehend that I was, in fact, not alone, but I did, very soon after my husband’s basic training.

In the letters that were written throughout basic training, I got to learn about what soldiers go through in preparation of serving our country. I read about my husband’s thoughts, opinions, and overflowing emotions, but I also got to know who his battle buddies were. It was through these letters that I realized somewhere in Dearborn, Michigan, another girlfriend was learning she was also not alone. This other girl and I crossed paths at Basic Training graduation (Fort Knox), but amidst all of the excitement of getting to see my husband, we were never introduced. She is, however, in the background of several of the pictures I took of OUR Soldiers, and we probably even bumped into each other while taking the same picture of our husbands and their friends.

I flew, several times, from Phoenix, AZ to Atlanta, GA, and commuted on GROOME Transportation from Atlanta to visit my husband at Fort Benning (Columbus, GA) while he was attending Officer Candidate School. Fort Benning changed my life. It was at Fort Benning that my husband and I and his battle buddies, along with their better halves (which included the girl from Dearborn!), were finally introduced. I believe all five of us women could feel the relief. We knew that from that moment forward that we would forever be friends because we were linked to this very special and new experience. This, in turn, also meant we were never alone.

That first night, at dinner, we all exchanged names, email addresses and phone numbers. I had never felt more thankful to finally have someone to email or speak with about how we felt in terms of separation, anxiety, future MOS’s, PCSing etc. Just to have someone on the other end who knew exactly how I felt was comforting. We even had the pleasure of returning to Fort Benning on many occasions to visit our Soldiers. We spent Thanksgiving together, and even lived near one another, though temporary, at Uchee Creek during OCS Graduation.

Looking back on the two years that I have known these four women, we have experienced engagements, weddings, pregnancies and babies, PCS moves, multiple trainings, deployments and every other thing that life handed us. We have stuck together through phone calls, text messages, vacation visits, emails and blogs. Maybe building these friendships was not as simple as playing on the playground and commenting on someone’s sweater, but either way you look at it, God intended for us to meet and I could not be more thankful for these four battle buddies of my own. They will forever define my Army roots.


I hope you enjoyed it :) And P.S. I love my battle buddies :)


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Family Readiness Groups

After becoming an ACS Certified FRG (Family Readiness Group) Leader, I have become even more aware of the importance of this role! For those of you who may not know what an FRG Leader really does or why they are important for you as an Army Spouse or Family member... Please continue reading :)

Question: What is an FRG?
Answer: It is a command-sponsored organizatino of Soldiers, civilian employees, family members (immediate and extended) and volunteers belonging to a unit. (Source: AR 608-1, Appendix J)

Question: What is the FRG's Mission?
Answer: The FRG acts as an extension of the unit in providing official and accurate command information. They provide mutual support between the command and the FRG, advocate for efficient use of available resources, and help direct families to the best resources when an issue arises. *** Please note, FRG leaders are not the people to call to solve your problems or fix things for you. We are simply here to help you find the right resources to solve any issues or problems... And of course to communicate effectively with you and your family about what is going on within your Unit, Battalion, Company ,and/or platoon.

Question: Why do we have FRGs?
Answer: To support soldiers and their families. The FRG assists the commander in enhancing family readiness for whatever stage of inactivation, activation, pre-deployment, deployment, employment, redeployment, etc....Families can look to FRGs for ongoing support, resources, and a sense of belonging!

Question: Why do FRGs need volunteers?
Answer: The FRG is only as strong or as weak as you make it. If you want to have fun family and social events, volunteers are needed to plan events, follow them through, raise money, and to keep the FRG going. There is typically 1 FRG Leader (and maybe a c0-Leader), a Treasurer (and a co-treasurer), Fund Raising Chair, Secretary, and KEY CALLERS!

Question: What is a Key Caller?
Answer: A volunteer within the FRG who is at the top of the Phone Tree. When command issues information to be delivered to each family, the Key Caller calls their Roster and gives the information. Key Callers are not to give any additional information or opinions during their phone calls.

This is just a short overview of what an FRG is and what it is used for. Some FRGs meet once a month, some once a quarter, and some may just be starting their FRGs. FRGs are a great way to connect with other Army families and keep in the "loop" on information directly from the commander. FRGs are not a gossip club, and ranks do not matter here.

I am so so so excited to be our company's FRG leader :) It's going to be challenging, but SO rewarding! Stay tuned for more information :)


Monday, September 13, 2010

Post Deployment Tips - Faith Deployed

Speaking to many of my wonderful milspouse family, I have determined that there is an important piece of information to families after deployment.... STICK TOGETHER! :)

Faith Deployed, is a website that parallels the book Faith Deployed. It has some super fantastic advice. First, there is the "37 things to keep in mind" and second, a reintegration balance with extended family. Please take a look and let us know what you do to jump start your routine when your soldier returns from a deployment.

Red Leg

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Family Readiness Group

No matter how you look at it, being involved in the Army requires some volunteering... Afterall, as an Army Spouse, we DID volunteer to go along for this ride!

Well, I (Sapperette) have decided to become a huge part in our Company's FRG (Family Readiness Group). How huge is huge? Well, I am going to the the FRG Leader! My responsibility is beautiful. It may be stressful. It may be frustrating. And it may take up more time than I would like it to. But - it is going to be SO worth it! I will be connecting families to the strings that operate their soldier. I will tie family into the word Army so that we can really see what an Army family is.

I cannot wait to report more as I continue to learn all of the tricks-of-the-trade so I can spread the Army Family LOVE to our extended family (YOU!)!

Love Love Love!