The Association of the United States Army held the 2012 AUSA National Meeting and Exposition in Washington, Oct. 22-24. Members of the Fort Irwin community that could not travel to Washington, were able to watch several of the sessions and forums during live broadcasts hosted by the Department of Defense Digital Visual Information System.
Members of the Fort Irwin Family Advocacy Program gathered to watch four forums focused on Army Families. The main theme of all the sessions was resiliency and the ability of Families to recover issues related to the Army lifestyle.
In the first session “Our Leaders Speak”, leaders from Active Army, National Guard and Reserve hosted a town hall-type of discussion. Members of the audience, as well as viewers of the live feed, were able to ask questions directly to senior leadership.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno spoke about the importance of the “Ready Resilient” campaign and the “Soldier for Life” campaign.
Ready and Resilient is the Army’s holistic approach to total healthcare for its Soldiers, Family members, and civilians, both on and off the battlefield. The major components of Ready and Resilient are medical and personnel readiness, according to the campaign’s web site at Army.mil.
The Soldier for Life program enables Army, governmental, and community efforts to facilitate successful integration of our Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families in order to keep them Army Strong and instill their values, ethos, and leadership within communities, according to the Army web site.
During the second session “Behavioral Health Challenges and Triumphs”, Jeanne Chandler, wife of the Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, talked about the importance of resiliency training. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back, she said. She talked about the importance of individual recovery to the Family, as well as the Army.
The third session, “Army Families: Transitions and New Beginnings,” discussed the issues faced by Families of Wounded Warriors and Gold Star families.
In the final session, “Building Resiliency Through Education,” guest speaker Marilee Fitzgerald, director of DoD Education Activity, addressed some of the challenges to the education of military students.
One of the goals for the Army is to minimize the social educational and emotional disruptions that occur when Army students move to a new school. Most Army students can expect to make between 6 and 9 moves during their academic career. These students face five basic challenges, including: variations in school/academic standards, extracurricular activities, special education services, parental involvement, and social adjustments.
“Great teachers and great schools understand the military lifestyle and the impact the lifestyle has on student performance,” Fitzgerald said. “With the help of great teachers and schools, Army families can overcome the issues.”
The complete sessions are available at http://www.dvidshub.net/
For more information on Ready and Resilient go to: www.army.mil/readyandresilient.
For Soldier for Life information see: www.army.mil/soldierforlife.