Monday, December 10, 2007

What is an FRG?

I have become involved in the Family Readiness Group for the Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 108th Sustainment Brigade. This is the unit from which I retired in May.

A portion of the Headquarters of the 108th Sustainment Brigade has been mobilized and will very shortly be deployed to Iraq. That is really why I volunteered to help out. I felt a little guilty that it would have been me to go if I had stayed in a few more months. Also I know that my family got no support while I was deployed in Afghanistan. I wanted to correct that.

In fact, when I volunteered to help in anyway they needed, they volunteered me as the Group Leader (a rather intense job with orders and a letter of appointment). I'll do my best and anyone I know that wants to help will be welcomed warmly.

But, what is an FRG (Family Readiness Group) and what do they do?

Well, in theory, every unit should always have an FRG. it should be the official support for families of service members, both in the Regular Army and in the Reserves (the Army Reserves and the National Guard are both, and collectively, refered to as the Reserves). In practice it is more common to see an FRG started up for a unit deploying and not continuing much after they get back.

In units based in rural communities I have seen a very close knit family organization, but that was because most of the members of the unit were literally family.

In units without this natural support it can be very important for the FRG to function well.

FRGs provide a clearing house for information for service families. They also provide a source of mental and spiritual support. We have monthly informational and social meetings planned for the year that the unit will be deployed. We are also building a "Phone Tree" so that each family will get a call at least once a month from someone who has information and is ready to provide support (or at least get a request for support started in the right direction).

Deployments can be as hard, or harder on families as on the service members themselves. Support an FRG if you can. For more information about the HHC, 108 SB FRG, drop me a line at

An FRG in action.
Santa Claus this year is letting his reindeer have a rest, arriving at his appointed rounds in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Here, he stops at Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane, Wash. Operation Spokane Heroes hosted the holiday party for Families of deployed servicemembers, who met Santa, rode a carousel and had pizza. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Jocelyn A. Ford)


Anonymous said...

Sorry you didn't have the support that you should have from the people of United States. I know that over the past couple of years I have mailed out hundreds of letters and cards to many armed forces. And I continue to do so. Thank you for your time spent in the military. I understand you come from a long line of military.

Inner Prop said...

Thank you. I wouldn't say that I didn't get the support from the people of the US. In general people are very supportive of service members, especially those deployed.

No, what I meant, and what an FRG should do, is specific support for the FAMILY of the service member. An FRG can provide someone a family member can call for information, support, help in time of need and social interaction.

Also, my family is actually very new to the military business. My dad's family have been Chicago Firefighters for over a hundred years. My Dad and his cousin are the first in our family to go into the military.

Anonymous said...

So what is your FRG doing to support the service members that are being deployed?

Inner Prop said...

The support an FRG gives is mostly the reassurance that a service member has to worry less about their family and can concentrate on the job at hand.

When I was in Afghanistan the hardest thing to deal with was worrying about how to help my family back home when I couldn't really help them.

A good FRG would have relieved me of that concern.

An FRG can also support service members in any way that their families want to. Each service member gets different chances to commnuncate with their families and everyone is different in the way they communicate (some don't "complain" as much as others). The group can share their information about what is bothering their service members or what they need. Then as a group they can support their troops.

Our unit has not deployed to Iraq yet, so we are just developing what we support we are going to provide.

Right now we have a newsletter (the first issue goes out this week) and planned monthly meetings.