Family Readiness Group

Family Readiness GroupAs a Company Commander, one of your mandatory requirements is to establish a unit Family Readiness Group, also known as a FRG.

The purpose of the Family Readiness Group is to provide a support channel for spouses, loved ones, and family members; especially during a deployment.

The Family Readiness Group normally has monthly or quarterly meetings.

At the meetings, the spouses get together to share information, answer questions and conduct fundraisers.

They share ideas with each other about what deployments are like, what to expect as the stay behind spouse, and what to do when you face certain challenges while your spouse is away.

Whether your unit is scheduled for deployment or not, it’s still important to have a unit Family Readiness Group.

Even if your Soldiers show very little interest in the idea, that’s irrelevant.

You can bet that most spouses, friends and family members would be interested in participating in a Family Readiness Group.

As a leader, your job is to establish a group and get family members and spouses to participate.

That means you need to communicate with the spouses by having a unit newsletter, sending out an email to spouses and scheduling FRG Meetings for your unit.

Typically the Company Commander’s or First Sergeant’s spouse serves as the FRG Leader.

However, there are many exceptions to this rule.

The true secret to success is to find a spouse or family member who expresses interest in accepting the position.

After all, you don’t want to force someone to lead the readiness group

Once you find someone interested in becoming the FRG Leader, you must place them on orders and get them trained.

To do this, coordinate with your Battalion or Brigade S1 (or FRG rep).

Now that your unit has an FRG leader, you must support them.

You must make sure they have the training and resources to schedule, run and maintain a FRG Group for your unit.

That also means that you need to be accessible and answer their questions when they need help.

You also need to encourage MAXIMUM participation among your soldiers and their families.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

  1. Family Readiness Groups: Are They All That They Can Be? by Lauren McBride
  2. Army Family Readiness Group Leader: An Overview
  3. Army Family Readiness Group: A Brief History
  4. Army Family Separation Pay: What it is and How it Works
  5. How to Prepare Your Family for an Army Deployment

As a Company Commander, you must disseminate information to your Soldiers and family members about the FRG.

In our unit, we had a bulletin board and monthly newsletter.

You can also use emails, a phone roster, or mail.  I highly recommend you use a combination of these things to communicate among FRG Members.

Personally, I found that many spouses were not interested in a FRG during the typical training year.

However, things quickly changed when a unit receives deployment orders.

As I mentioned earlier, even if spouses aren’t initially interested, you still need to get a group up and running.

At first, you might only have 5-10 members.

But as the group meets frequently, and keeps communicating with other spouses, the group will grow.

It just might take some time to make that happen.

It’s important to have a Family Readiness Group before the unit gets deployment orders.

That way, the FRG is already working and functional and spouses have clear forms of communication.

And, the unit can focus on the training it needs to accomplish, without being distracted with family issues.

In conclusion, all Company Commanders must support the Family Readiness Group.

The last thing deployed Soldiers should have to worry about is their spouses and family members back home.

If your unit has an effective FRG, the group can help remedy many of these problems and eliminate unnecessary stress among Soldiers and dependents.

Even if your FRG isn’t perfect, don’t fret.

Instead, consider it a work in progress.

Just keep making baby steps each month and your unit’s Family Readiness Group will make significant progress.

We would like to hear your ideas about FRGs.

Do you have any ideas on how to build a strong Family Readiness Group?

Please share below.

Thank you.

11 thoughts on “Family Readiness Group”

  1. I might be way off base here, but when my niece’s husband in the Army National Guard was deployed to Iraq, she had some dealings with the FRG in her area, and the FRG Leader there was a paid position. It was even a well-paid position. My niece found the organization to be rife with politics, and back-stabbing, and it turned out to be nothing more than a gossip circle about who was doing what with whom while husbands were away. It sounds to me like the quality of the FRG units varies greatly across the country.

  2. The big point to take away in this article for me was the need for a Family Readiness Group BEFORE you get deployment orders. Even if that group isn't greatly attended you need to keep it running, keep it up to date and keep reminding your members and their families about the reason for the group.
    As stated in the article this will quickly become the most important group in the world come deployment time.

  3. I’m with Leslie: the first I heard anything about the Family Readiness Group (FRG) was also from watching Army Wives on television. I thought that it was such a neat and wonderful resource for our soldiers. It is only from reading your blog that I realize that FRG is not as organized and helpful as it looked on television. I hope that it can be. Our soldier’s families need the support so that they can stay together and thrive, and ultimately be the most important support for their family service member. Good luck with this.

  4. Amy Skalicky

    The FRG is also a great resource for helping families prepare for deployment once orders are issued, especially for families facing their first deployment. Murphey’s law likes to rear its head at the worse times, and FRG support can help mitigate this. I have found that many families are looking for suggestions and some support from the get-go. Early connection with the FRG unit can ease stress and help the not only preparation efforts, but also the deployment itself, go smoother for those here at home. And, as you pointed out, Chuck, smoother sailing here is always good for the soldiers. You are also right about FRG volunteers being motivated from the goodness of their hearts, and they donate their time and many times some resources to providing self-less support for families.

  5. OK, don’t laugh. As a non-military person, I actually first heard about FRG from watching Army Wives. This article was helpful to put the role of FRG in context and to see that it is supported by the highest levels of the organization. There are so many factors that go into making sure a Soldier can do their job and knowing there is an extra support network like FRG is great.

  6. Good post. FRG is such an important aspect of the National Guard and your unit. Our Battalion believes so strongly in it that we have an ENTIRE IDT homestation weekend dedicated to establishing our FRG program and personnel before we deploy. I have found personally, that most Soldiers are ignorant to the FRG program and what they do so I behooves us as leaders to educate them and get involved. Our FRG families and personnel do a great job and are truly motivated by the goodness in their hearts. I believe that we owe them a lot and should always strive to take some time to assist them.

    1. Candace Ginestar

      An enthusiastic FRG Leader is crucial. Someone has to be the one to take charge while we are deployed, and it is up to them to help guide the group along and keep them together. I’ve seen FRG scatter three sheets to the wind, and then people are left with a bad taste in their mouths.

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