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FRG question – Reserve wife

November 10, 2010

A comment on a past post about FRGs just came in.  Anyone got an answer for her?

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HELP!!!!! I am trying (and have been for the past 5 years) to be involved in, what I’m finding to be, a non existant FRG.  Oh wait, maybe I misspoke since the Family Readiness box is checked on the paperwork it means there is one.  I’m just not privy to it I guess.  I have spent the last 2 consecutive battle assemblies at my husband’s unit to express my interest in becoming our unit’s FRG Leader only to be met with a response from command that it is “not high on the list of priorities”.  I am so frustrated with the entire thing.  I have called, emailed, typed letters to the command, met in person and sent messages through my spouse but nothing seems to help….not even raising the issue of AR 608-1 (the Army regulation governing the managing and funding of the Family Readiness Group).  I’ve been studying.  I really would like to know what my options are at this point when the unit command doesn’t seem to be interested in the families that belong to the unit.  As a reserve unit, are we under a different set of regulations or is it Army wide that they must follow AR 608-1?   Any info pointing me in the right direction would be oh so appreciated.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2010 3:16 am

    If your husband’s reserve unit is like my husband’s, everyone is so spread out, meetings would probably have to be conference calls or email messages. His unit is in Washington state, we’re in Oklahoma, and most everyone else in the unit is in other locations as well. Reservist live where their jobs are, not where the unit is. It took me almost two years to find that out, so maybe that’s why your FRG is inactive, everyone including the leader is far away from the unit.

    • Ruth permalink
      November 11, 2010 6:58 pm

      I understand that it is difficult for some reserve units to establish and maintain an FRG. However, I see that as nothing more than not enough effort placed in the planning and not enough dedication on the part of the leadership. How can a military unit make issue of the lack of involvement from family members on one hand and reprimand a soldier because his family is TOO involved on the other? How can that same military (reserve or active duty) expect anyone to step up and take on that role of trying to establish and maintain (what the ARMY calls a Force Multiplier) when the command sees us as nothing more than a check mark on their papers? FRGs have guidelines. I get it. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a Family Readiness Group at all. You must adapt your group and activities to the needs and activities of your unit, don’t you think? If 75% of your interaction is virtual via the internet or long distance by phone — that is still better than NO interaction at all. The local command should understand that having a strong and connected FRG is going to make a stronger and connected unit. I have been affiliated with the military my entire life as a “BRAT” and now ARMY wife. I am so tired of the expectation to jump through military hoops at the drop of a hat then told that they have to “reign me in” when they get me on board. Sometimes those of us who take our position as ARMY wives take that on with serious determination. Getting involved is in our nature….his hours of study is our hours of study. His hours of training is our hours of training. His days, weeks, months, and in my case, years of separation is our seperation. When he talks about the 6 P’s…..I know what he’s saying. When he says something is in AR 670-1, I have a clue. When he says to remember the third line of the Warrior Ethos…..I know it is “I will never quit”. To say that I am passionate about the subject is an understatement.

  2. LopsidedMom permalink
    November 12, 2010 11:50 am

    If 75% of your interaction is virtual via the internet or long distance by phone — that is still better than NO interaction at all. The local command should understand that having a strong and connected FRG is going to make a stronger and connected unit.

    Unless you live near a major drill site, there is no local command and there is no connection. My Husband drills in four different locations right now, depending on where he’s needed. His previous CO currently lives in the Pacific Northwest but commands a unit in South Carolina. The Reserve travel budget alone blows the mind.

    Personally, the expectation that I’m supposed to step out of my civilian life and buy into the military life just because my husband is deploying causes more stress than the actual deployment. The last thing I want is a stranger from three states away calling or emailing me, reminding me to take one for the team and smile while I’m at it.

    • Ruth permalink
      November 12, 2010 1:48 pm

      If you are affiliated with the military as a spouse, you are already “taking one for the team”. And as far as “buying into the military life because your husband is deploying”, how can you separate yourself from it? What I am proposing is not an intrusive connection or someone suggesting that someone “buck up and take it like a military spouse” but we all could be a bit better off with the concept that we’re not experiencing this situation (whether deployed or not) alone. That there are spouses out there who can relate to the frustrations we all go through and might be able to help someone else through a tough time.

  3. November 13, 2010 8:05 am

    I know the Reserves are different, but I’m a Guard spouse, and we often face the same issue. Drilling members can often be spread far apart geographically, if there is a FRG it can be ineffective at best, and my favorite, there are soldiers who tell their spouses NOTHING and keep them in the dark and don’t want them involved AT ALL. Yes, some of these guys even go as far as to tell the spouses that it’s all volunteer and they’re not even getting paid for drills. Then the unit gets deployed, the shit hits the fan, and no one knows where to turn.

    I say keep pressing up the chain of command until you get someone who gives two shits about these soldiers and their families. You’ll probably be met with a lot of spouses like the previous commenter who think they don’t care. Those are the spouses who fail to realize they don’t have to be involved, but it’s nice if someone at the unit has your e-mail and phone number to let you know things like when your soldier is coming home for sure, and just in case, God forbid, something serious should happen.

    If nothing else, my time as a spouse has taught me that no matter how much command bitches, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. In this case, I think the squeaky wheel has a very valid point.

    And I was told that the reg is Army wide by my soldier.

  4. November 15, 2010 1:31 pm

    Here’s what I did at the start of our last deployment. I took maters into my own hands. I set up a website with a message board. I then made up little cards with our website addy and I invited all the wives I knew and told them to invite all their wives. I had my hubs pass around the info too and pretty soon we we became the “officially unofficial” frg. Our State has tried to shut us down saying we’re operating outside the “chain” but f-them. We’re doing for our small circle of wives what no other FRG has done for our battalion, and I’ve been in this bn since 1987. We’re bringing our families together and supporting each other. I don’t care that we don’t have a ‘charter’. I don’t care that we don’t get official info from state (though I have my contacts who DO keep me in the loop) and I don’t care that we can’t ‘officially’ raise one penny. When someone needs a babysitter they know who to call, when someone’s mom died and they needed help getting their dh picked up from the airport they knew who to ask. When we all knew our guys were heading from the MOB station to overseas we all sat online half the night and chatted while each waited to receive our phone call from the sand.

    So my advice – don’t wait for permission. Just do something.

    • libarmywife permalink
      November 15, 2010 1:44 pm

      Michelle – we started a different group as well… the Redheaded Stepchildren, we did our own thing, and yeah, I had a person who was an “official” leader, who made sure we got all the info we needed. I think the fact that our FRG leader was known to the official leadership as being worse than useless, but didn’t want to “fire” her, helped us out. Whenever we went somewhere and heard from other family members who said “I’ve never heard from my FRG” (and this was after 18 months of a 22 month deployment with the Guard) I wanted to just scream. I’d give out our email address (this was waaaaaay before facebook and other sites) and hear from them when they had a problem and added them to our email lists.

      LAW

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  1. 4 Options for an Inactive or Nonexistent FRG | Miltary Spouse Central

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