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NEWS | April 3, 2017

Family: An Essential Part of Soldier Readiness

By Melissa Russell Army Reserve Communications

Every day, decisions impacting our Soldiers' operational readiness are made at home. Finances, child care, diet and fitness are all choices demonstrating that military readiness is very much a family matter. Comprised of less than one percent of the population, the well-being of the geographically dispersed Reserve Components is also dependent on local communities, work, schools--and each other. Those are the connections--and the foundation--that Julie Luckey, an America's Army Reserve Senior Spouse, hopes to solidify over the next four years.

"There are so many programs out there, and the amount of information can be staggering", said Luckey. "It's hard to know where to start, especially when you don't have an identified support network. It's important to access, understand and share the tools and resources available through both the Army and your local community."

When Luckey learned her husband, Lt. Gen. Charles D. Luckey, had been selected to become the next Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command, she said she was "overwhelmed and humbled". She hoped to turn the cross-country move into an opportunity to have a positive impact on Soldiers and Families. "I've been given four years to try and make a difference, to link America's Army Reserve Families together and to make sure everyone is aware of the incredible network that exists to support them. Nobody should ever feel alone."

Luckey characterizes the Family's role in support of their Soldier as invaluable, but she recognizes that between the demands of children, work and day-to-day responsibilities, the ability of an Army Reserve Family to self-identify as being a critical component of operational readiness can sometimes "fall into the white space". She feels Soldiers owe it to themselves and to their Families to share what it means to be an American Soldier and why defining themselves as a member of the Army Reserve is such an important component of their sense of self and of their commitment to duty, honor and Country. "As Soldiers, you must help your Family understand that they are a critical member of the finest institution in the world, the United States Army, and empower them to be active participants on the Team."

"Knowledge is power," she continued. "For me to best support my Soldier, I have to understand the mission, the demands and the set of responsibilities with which he is dealing. The more I know, the better positioned I am to help my Soldier and our Country. As a Family member, never undervalue your role as an essential factor of the readiness equation."

Luckey pointed out that it's hard to separate the Citizen from the Soldier. "Even when my husband was wearing his "civilian hat" as a practicing attorney in North Carolina, the Warrior Ethos imbued every aspect of his career and life. It's a defining part of his character."

Families, jobs and communities, however, all play a role in the lives of geographically dispersed Reserve Component service members. Fort Family, Family Readiness Groups and Military OneSource are outstanding "one-stop-shops" for available resources, but Luckey is also reaching out across the DoD and into local communities as she strives to find creative ways to enhance support and improve the readiness, resilience and well-being of every Army Reserve Family. While external forces continue to redefine what is required of our military and our Families, Luckey is passionate about her mission. "My ultimate goal is to create a strong military community that is readily identifiable and accessible to all, to which every Soldier, spouse and child can turn for information, a connection...a hug. I want everyone to feel great pride in the fact they truly and selflessly represent America's One Percent."