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Army Communications -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
As the new Family Readiness Group (FRG) Leader, where do I obtain contact information for new Soldiers and families?

Answer:
The unit commander should have appointed a person in the unit to provide you with that information. In most cases, it will be the Family Readiness Liaison or someone in the S1 (Personnel) shop. If the unit is deployed, check with the Rear Detachment for this information. For more information on starting and leading a Family Readiness Group (FRG), refer to the Army Family Readiness Group Leader's Handbook as well as the other resources listed.

Question:
How can I contact my Soldier when he or she is deployed?

Answer:
Soldiers usually have access to the Internet during deployments (even when deployed to combat zones) and often have access to a telephone although your deployed Soldier would have to do the calling. There are several free email services you can use, and access to computer resources is usually available for family members on military installations. Check with your local Army Community Service (ACS), Family Readiness or Assistance Centers, or your local libraries for further assistance. The Department of the Army recommends using Army Knowledge Online (AKO) email for communicating with your Soldier as it provides a secure interface. All Soldiers (to include Reserve Component Soldiers) are authorized AKO accounts and family members/friends of full-account holders can obtain Guest Accounts. The Army Postal System (APO) manages the delivery of mail to and from Soldiers overseas and when deployed. So, letters and care packages are always another option. Note that there are often restrictions on the type of items that can be sent to Soldiers in certain parts of the world.

Question:
How can I contact my Soldier?

Answer:
Your Soldier should be able to provide you with a contact number while in garrison (at home station) or you can contact the post operator at the military community in which your Soldier is stationed and provide him/her with your Soldier’s organization (e.g., Alpha Co., 1/41 Inf. BN). Communication is a little more complex if your Soldier is deployed. However, even in times of conflict nowadays, Soldiers often have access to the Internet, if telephone contact is not readily available. There are several free email services you can use, and access to computer resources is usually available for family members on military installations. Check with your local Army Community Service (ACS), Family Readiness or Assistance Centers, or your local libraries for further assistance. The Department of the Army recommends using Army Knowledge Online (AKO) email for communicating with your Soldier as it provides a secure interface. All Soldiers (to include Reserve Component Soldiers) are authorized AKO accounts and family members/friends of full-account holders can obtain Guest Accounts. You can also set up an email account through GIMail, which is a Web Based email service for DEERS-verified Department of Defense employees (military and civil service, Active Duty, Guard, and Reserves) and their family members. The Army Postal System (APO) manages the delivery of mail to and from Soldiers overseas and when deployed. So, letters and care packages are always another option. Note that there are often restrictions on the type of items that can be sent to Soldiers in certain parts of the world.

Question:
How do I contact the unit Family Readiness Group (FRG) Leader?

Answer:
Your sponsor or a representative from your sponsor's unit (such as the Rear Detachment Commander, if the unit is deployed) should be able to tell you who your FRG Leader is. You should be provided with your FRG Leader's telephone number and/or email address. Oftentimes, there are alternate representatives for you to call within your FRG. The Deployment Readiness Coordinator at your local Army Community Service (ACS) office may also have a list of FRG leaders and contact information.

Question:
How do you create a telephone tree?

Answer:
The purpose of a telephone tree is to facilitate communication among members of a group. Rather than have one person call all members of a group to relay information, the leader (or top of the telephone tree) calls several specific members with the message and they, in turn, pass it on to the next person in their chain. In a company-level Family Readiness Group (FRG), for example, the telephone tree may be set up such that the FRG leader would call designated point of contacts (POCs) for each of the company’s platoons. The POC for each of the platoons would contact the next person in their chain, who calls the next person, and so on. In order to ensure that the message reaches all members of the group, it is helpful for the last person in the chain to call the first person in the chain to inform them that the list has been completed. In this example, the last person in the chain at the platoon-level would call the platoon POC. Each of the platoon POCs would then call the FRG leader. This is a very effective way to pass information on to everyone in the group as quickly as possible.

Question:
How does the Army Post Office (APO) and Fleet Post Office (FPO) operate while stationed overseas?

Answer:
The Army Post Office (APO) and Fleet Post Office (FPO) are official U.S. post offices used by service members, their family members and other authorized personnel serving overseas.

Question:
If my sponsor is deployed and I plan on visiting my family while he/she is away, should Iet anyone at my sponsor's unit know about my travel plans?

Answer:
Family members should notify the Rear Detachment Commander, the Family Readiness Group (FRG) representative and/or emergency contact person of any travel plans and a contact number in case of an emergency.

Question:
What are some of the skills needed to produce a Family Readiness Group (FRG) newsletter?

Answer:
Chapter 6 of the Army Family Readiness Group Leader’s Handbook (Running an Effective FRG – Communications) covers a lot of the basic information you need to generate a newsletter for your FRG. An FRG newsletter does not have to be very elaborate – it could be a small, very simple publication that contains basic information about FRG events and activities. Ideally, however, it is useful for the newsletter chairperson to have some basic writing skills such as: how to research material; use a Word Processing or Publishing software program on the computer: how to format the material to make the newsletter visually appealing; and how to reproduce and distribute the newsletter. It is also important for the individual to be organized and dependable in order to meet deadlines for the newsletter.

Question:
What are the main reasons why organizations use newsletters?

Answer:
Newsletters are used to notify members about upcoming meetings, classes, events and other activities. They are used to share information that may be of interest to group members and also to recognize the group’s or individual group members’ achievements. Newsletters can save meeting time and allow you to disseminate information to individuals who perhaps are unable to attend your regular meetings because of conflicting schedules or their geographic locations. Additionally, newsletters can also be used to share new ideas and to promote the benefits of the group to encourage more participation in their activities. Note that these are just a few of the more general reasons organizations use newsletters. The main purpose of newsletters is dependent on the goals of the organization.

Question:
What are the primary responsibilities of the Rear Detachment Commander when a unit is deployed?

Answer:
When a unit is deployed, a Rear Detachment Commander is designated to coordinate activities of the unit and facilitate communication with the unit and its members while deployed. They also serve as a key point of contact for the Family Readiness Group.
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