COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Mobilizing Soldiers and families of a local Army Reserve battalion forged bonds at a family day event held Feb. 3 at the Defense Supply Center Columbus in advance of their departure.
More than 100 Soldiers and families from the Columbus-based 3-338th Training Support Battalion, 157th Infantry Brigade, attended the event supported by DSCC’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Office at the Armed Forces Reserve Building on base.
“We have a number of different resources for them – including information on addressing the separation, keeping in touch and other resources they can pick up and take with them,” said Michiel DeVito, MWR’s Family Services program manager. “We’re here to let them know that on the installation, MWR family programs are the place for them to come if they have concerns.”
The day included a resource fair for families with information on military programs and services offered at DSCC, as well as resources within the community such as the Private Public Partnership. Bounce houses, face painting, balloon animals and craft tables were set up for children to enjoy. An awards ceremony highlighting achievements within the unit capped the day.
About 75 percent of the unit will head to Fort Hood, Texas, next month to support First Army’s mission of preparing Army Reserve units to deploy. They will join a New Jersey-based unit for the duration of the mobilization. The other quarter will remain behind in Columbus serving as the rear detachment – continuing the unit’s doctrinal mission to support military police, engineer and logistics training for National Guard and Reserve units.
The 3-338th specializes in pre-mobilization training and validation operations to provide trained forces ready to deploy in support of operations across the world. Most of the unit’s Soldiers are certified as observer/coach trainers – or OCTs – having completed an evaluation of their ability to advise, assist, coach, mentor, teach and train Reserve component Soldiers.
“They’ll be helping other Reserve units mobilize in preparation for deployment. These units will go through Fort Hood to in-process, go through a full spin-up for mobilization – including driver’s training, weapons training and other prerequisites – and then they’ll help push these units out (on deployment),” said Lt. Col. William Bundy, the battalion’s commander.
It will be over a year before the battalion reunites again.
As the unit experiences the impact of a mobilization across the country, Bundy said his goal is to keep families connected.
“It’s important for the families to connect with one another and with the people who will be on the rear detachment so they understand the resources available…and just to know that we’re here to support them emotionally and with what they need to get through the day while their loved ones are so far away,” Bundy said.
Family Readiness Group leader Stephanie Duff agreed that support to families is critical during this time.
Duff, a married mother of two, took the helm of the unit’s FRG in August and serves as the link between the unit’s rear detachment, mobilizing Soldiers and their families. She’s also preparing for her husband’s first mobilization.
“This isn’t the first mobilization for a lot of the families. Knowing that and talking with them has helped me – they’re veterans when it comes to this,” Duff said. “We’re all doing this together – whether you’re mobilizing or not.”
Duff thanked the MWR office for their support and involvement in the family day event.
“DSCC offers a lot and I don’t think the families know the full scope of what’s offered here so MWR’s family services program is a critical link for us,” Duff said.