FORT HOOD, Texas –
With their focus on the next generation of leaders, the Mobilization Support Brigade here hosted their “Best Year Ever” seminar, Feb. 28, to help its Soldiers get the most out of their deployment.
Col. Robert Coker, 642nd Regional Support Group and MSB commander, said the concept derived from discussions he had with his team prior to leaving their home station in Decatur, Georgia, to support the mission at Fort Hood.
An Army Reserve unit, the 642nd was mobilized to help ready National Guard and Reserve units for deployment in country and abroad as well as redeploying them back to their home stations once their missions have been completed.
While here, Coker and his leadership team felt that it was important to help their Soldiers take advantage of the opportunities they have available to them throughout this stateside deployment.
He explained that if his Soldiers could learn to chisel away some of their debt and start a retirement account, “we’re positioning them long-term to experience less distractions and stronger families.”
And with less financial distractions, the team reasoned, they would be more focused and better able to accomplish the mission.
“There’s a lot of connection points that tie into supporting our mission and strengthening our ability to accomplish our mission,” Coker said.
Maj. Brian M. Hare, public affairs officer, 642nd RSG, said, “We wanted to encourage our Soldiers to get the maximum benefit from their time in service. So, we focused on four different areas: financial, education, health and wellness, and spirituality.
“It’s not so much focused on our mission, this is focused on the Soldiers in those four different areas,” he said. “We want them to use their time wisely. We want them to save money, to take advantage of their educational benefits, build a good spiritual base, and health and wellness as far as physical readiness and getting their mind right.”
Hare added to accomplish the seminar’s intended goals, the unit tasked several of its personnel with unique skill sets and areas of expertise to lead discussions within the four areas.
According to MSB Command Sgt. Maj. Denise Demps, this outside-the-box training opportunity is something very much needed.
“It’s a variety of topics that we talk about, but it’s all hinged around making the Soldier’s life better for the future … thinking about finances, about education, about getting their body and mind in shape, as well as spiritual,” she said. “Today is our train-the-trainer portion, where we’re training leaders on concepts and what we want their Soldiers to learn and know so that they can have a better life in the end of working as a military or civilian member.
“We want them to make goals on how to get there in a year, achievable goals that you can measure,” she said. “We want them to make goals now and by the end of the year, we want to see how well they’ve met those goals, and how it has enriched their lives.”
Some goals she’d like to see are for the Soldiers to strengthen their education, i.e. professional military education, getting a certification or obtaining a degree.
Donnell Younger, one of the participants and operations officer at the MSB, said “regardless of this mobilization, all this is immaterial – this is life stuff.”
“This is what we need pertaining to our lives and families, so that they can move forward,” he said.
Younger added that it’s important that senior leaders disseminate this valuable information to junior Soldiers, so that “they can be successful in the future.”
The challenge, he says, is to ensure our leaders today share this information to our junior Soldiers so that they can be solid and steadfast to support the mission.
And, he adds, training such as this is a step in the right direction.