04/18/2017 | By Brig. Gen. Andrew Bassford Commanding, 95th Training Division (IET)
From the 95th Training Division (IET) Commander
We are comfortable doing this mission, and it is a mostly uneventful, normal occurrence.
Sometimes though, our Soldiers get mobilized for longer periods of active duty and may be asked to serve on active duty for a year, if not more. When one of our Soldiers gets asked to go on duty for such an extended period of time, they are going to have to deal with a number of issues that would not arise under normal circumstances. Often, Soldiers will have job and family challenges arising out of a mobilization.
Federal law gives a number of employment protections to Soldiers who are called to active duty. These can be enforced in the courts. Most employers, though, will do the right thing on their own, and hold a Soldier’s job while that Soldier is away. If, however, a problem arises, Soldiers can get help from ESGR – Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (www.esgr.org). The folks at ESGR are there to help you, and should be the first call that you make if you are having employer problems related to your performance of duty.
The Army is absolutely committed to ensuring Soldiers’ Families are taken care of while the Soldier is away from home performing duty. There are plenty of programs in place to handle any challenge a family might encounter. Army Reserve Family Programs (www.arfp.org) is a great starting point to learn about these programs. On that website, you can find points of contact to get help right away, 24/7, if you need it.
One of the greatest, and most effective ways that we help our families though, is through our unit Family Readiness Groups. Every battalion is required to have a FRG. The FRG is run by battalion family members who have volunteered their time and energy to help other families in the unit who may be in need. The FRG is also directly tied to the battalion commander, and so is able to make the chain of command aware of problems as they arise. The commander can then get the Army to act as needed to resolve these problems.
You may know the FRG as the folks who put on the battalion’s winter or summer family activities, and that’s true. These activities can be fun, but they are designed to help family members get to know each other. That way, everyone can put a face with a name if they need to call for help. If you have not yet gotten involved with your battalion’s FRG, I would encourage you to do so.
Being called to active duty can be exciting and challenging. It is something that can happen with very little notice, and can take you away from job and family. Realizing this, however, the Army has built a great set of tools to see that your job and family are taken care of while you are away. If you use these tools, you will be able to focus on your mission, and not have to worry about what is going on at home!