SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Surrounded by nature and with limited cellphone reception, Reserve Soldiers and their families participated in a family readiness training event at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, Sept. 18-20.
Hosted by the 200th Military Police Command, Family Readiness Group members, volunteers and command teams from three MP brigades received training about the tools and resources they would need, in order to successfully develop a Family Readiness Group.
The command, which is based at Fort Meade, Maryland, oversees more than 13,000 Soldiers in 34 states and is one of the largest Department of Defense law enforcement organizations.
Maj. Gen. Phillip M. Churn, the commanding general of the 200th MP Command, said the FRG is the pillar of success for any Army unit.
“This program is the foundation for any unit, so we are going to help reconstruct that foundation and make it solid,” Churn said.
The training separated the command teams and the Family Readiness Groups into separate training sections: The Chain of Command Training and Family Readiness in a New Era.
According to Susy D.H. Carter, the 200th MP Command’s Family Program director, the COCT focused on training command teams to effectively manage the Family Readiness Program throughout all phases of the Soldier life cycle, and the FRGNE provides Family Readiness Group volunteers with the knowledge, tools and skills to build and maintain an effective Family Readiness Group.
One MP company commander said the training was essential to success for a command team at any level.
“I think that as a whole, this training is geared toward really building the confidence that a leader needs to make sure they are prepared for standing up a Family Readiness Group within their unit,” said Capt. Thomas P. Dempsey. “As a commander it is a necessity to delegate and to work as a team with your subordinates and your peers to make sure that you can effect what you want within your command.”
Dempsey is the Commander for the 340th MP Company located in Fort Totten, New York.
The event also exposed the participants to the tools they can use in order to successfully develop and carry out their action plans.
“The FRG is very important not just for the Soldiers, but also for the families because that way the Soldiers can do their job, and us families at home can feel like we know what’s going on and we know that our spouses and family members overseas are safe,” said Samantha L. Underwood a Family Readiness Group Leader for the 800 MP Company, located in El Dorado, Arkansas.
According to the Army Reserve regulations the Family Readiness group is a commander’s program authorized by the Department of the Army to support the unit’s mission and is concerned with increasing unit, Soldier and Family readiness and promoting the goal of resilience, especially during periods of military separation.
“It starts with the commanders, this is a commander driven program, the commander has to be involved and the commander has to care, and then, he or she has to identify individuals who are committed and willing make it work,” Churn said. “I’m excited, we are doing great things at the 200th MP Command and we are going to solidify our foundation so we can do greater things going forward.”