Pre-deployment classes

So I'm digging around for classes to set up for our spouses before the deployment. Upcoming classes include:

* Kids and Deployment
* Crisis Response Team Training
* Spouse Battlemind training
* Couples Communication
* Coping with Separation for adults

We've already had:
* Benefits and Entitlements
* Legal (POAs, wills, guardianship, etc.)

We're planning to have:
* Space A brief
* Self-care brief (you can go through a class and then be eligible to get OTC medications from the pharmacy for free, rather than buying them at a store)

For those of you that have been through, or are going through, a deployment, what OTHER classes/briefs/information would you have liked to have had BEFORE the deployment started? What kinds of classes/briefs/information/activities would you have liked to have had (or are currently enjoying) DURING the deployment?

What worked?

What didn't work?

Ideas? Feedback? I don't want ALL of our FRG meetings to be a boring rehash of the training calendar - I'd like to be able to give our spouses useful information. I'm also looking for ideas on fun stuff to do - either as part of the meeting or during a separate event.

So let's hear it!


- hfs


Mama On The Move said...

Dang. I need to come to some of your classes. We haven't had anything like that!

Pogue said...

We just had a "yellow ribbon" event and one area they went through was financials - what pays and benefits we start getting and when. Very useful, although you active duty types may not need it. There was a section on all the paperwork for insurance, casualty notification contact point, person authorized to make medical decisions - I think the context was as much to let the spouses know where they should be named as anything else. (Safeguard against the "ex" getting everything because soldier didn't update his forms.) We also got a pretty good update on our projected time line from our Battalion Commander, which the wife really appreciated since we were kept in the dark last time.
Don't forget the brief on what the Casualty Notification/Assistance Officer does and how the whole system works. Depressing and uncomfortable for all concerned, but something that the spouses need to know. I don't know how to do it, but were I in your shoes I would try to evaluate who already has a support group in place vs who doesn't and may need to be checked up on. One Source and other support options available. Mechanism for Red Cross notification for emergencies. And I would start the reintegration discussion as well. Damn, it's easier to deploy than to stay back, isn't it?

Homefront Six said...

MotM ~ you are more than welcome to come to any of them. Seriously. Just let me know and I'll put your name on the list!

Pogue ~ The BDE is holding a mandatory Financial Readiness seminar for all soldiers and we've had a class on benefits/entitlements as well as a discussion about SGLI/life insurance/DD93. We've also talked about POAs and will be having a bit of a legal brief at our June meeting.

One of our Platoon Leaders is the guy that does the CAO brief - he's done CAO duty before and he's scheduled for July. We actually just had a casualty in the BN yesterday so it will be discussed at the next meeting, as will the need for CRT volunteers.

The Red Cross notification process is a good idea - not sure that all of our spouses know the process. And thanks for the reminder about Military One Source - I need to get some flyers for that printed to have on hand.

As for reintegration, we've been talking about that one since the beginning of the year. We are fortunate in that about 1/2 of our spouses have been through a deployment before (1/4 have been through at least 3) so we have a good pool of experience to draw from.

In fact, we are getting ready to start fleshing out plans for the big homecoming party so we can start raising money :) Nothing like planning ahead!

Keep the ideas coming!!

Shawna said...

Just wanted to say that I'm so glad you are including the kids and the deployment. What all will be discussed with that? Speaking from my experiences with Zi, and from other people I have met recently, it is a HUGE issue. Behavioral stuff and what not.

Pogue said...

Don't print fliers until you hit the Military One Source web site - they'll probably send you a pallet of fliers and refrigerator magnets if you ask nicely?

Val said...

In the one about deployment and kids you might mention for those who have just had babies, or will have babies while hubby is gone that PPD is over 2 times more likely for wives of deployed spouses, but that it IS treatable, help IS available. Postpartum support international (one of the biggest organizations that assists women with PPD) has a coordinator JUST FOR army families dealing with postpartum issues.

Homefront Six said...

Val ~ thank you for the reminder. I will make mention of that to the BN command. Right now, we have no new babies nor any due during the deployment. But that might change.

Shawna ~ I don't know. The class is next week. I'll let you know what's covered.

Pogue ~ good point!

Annie said...

How not to kill the dumb ass reporter who asks you a stupid question outside the post office while you are mailing a care package - with kids in tow.

Lea said...

Classes?? I'm supposed to take classes!!??

Wendy said...

A coffee group. I think it would be good to have one before the deployment to have a few more familiar faces out there and definitely one during the deployment. We haven't had anything remotely like that this deployment and I was sitting around the other day with three other girls I knew from before here and of the 4 of us not one has met anyone new since they got here (outside their team - all SF).

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Amy Maxwell said...

Are you sharing any information about anticipatory grief? I wrote a paper on it when my husband deployed a couple years ago. There wasn't very much info available then. It looks like there might be a bit more now. Google "Anticipatory Grief Deployment."


Wrote this six years ago. Nothing's changed.  One of my favorite movies is 'Bull Durham'. And one of my favorite scenes in ...