As 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 FRG.
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:
- Family Readiness Groups: Are They All That They Can Be? by Lauren McBride
- Army Family Readiness Group Leader: An Overview
- Army Family Readiness Group: A Brief History
- Army Family Separation Pay: What it is and How it Works
- 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.