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June 2011 • VOLUME 66, NO. 6

During Warrior Adventure Quest, Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, participated in snowboarding lessons at Birch Hill Ski and Snowboard area, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. (Photo by Sheryl Nix)

[ On the Cover ] Pfc. Andrew Clouse, far right with guitar, performs for Soldiers, Families and the local community during the Soldiers Show, Sept. 1, 2010, at Kansas State University. (Cover illustration using original photo by Katherine Rosario)

[ Coming Next Month ] Stories from around the Army

Instructor Cindy Burkhour of the U.S. Military Paralympics Organization teaches Staff Sgt. Lakizzy Robinson, a Winn Warrior Transition Battalion squad leader, introductory techniques for aquatics activities at the Newman Gym, Fort Stewart, Ga. (Photo by Mindy Anderson)

4 Opportunities for Soldiers, Families FMWRC provides quality of life programs that support the Army Family Covenant. 8 A Family program for every need Army Community Service helps Soldiers and Families decide which programs are best for them. 13 Good variety of child, youth programs Army Youth Programs provides affordable and accessible services for military kids. 16 Removing educational obstacles for kids Army School Support Services connects Families, schools and communities. 20 Strong Beginnings Army Child, Youth and School Services program preps kids for kindergarten. 28 Armed Forces Recreation Centers An array of affordable, world-class vacation opportunities for servicemembers, their Families, retirees, civilians and veterans. 36 Leveling the playing field Recreational opportunities abound for wounded warriors.


June 2011

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In every issue
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June 1, 2011

This will be one of the last times I communicate with you as commander of the Army’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. This summer, we will case the command’s colors and integrate the organization into Installation Management Command headquarters. While it has been an honor and privilege to serve as the FMWR commander for the past two years, I am very excited to be a part of this integration process. I am confident it will improve the Army’s ability to provide FMWR services and support to our Soldiers, civilians and their Families around the world. As we integrate with higher headquarters, FMWR programs will continue to serve as a solid foundation for the Army’s home, by fostering resiliency, restoring balance and enhancing recruitment, readiness and retention. While the name and structure of our command is changing, we’re confident these changes will be for the better. I assure you we remain fully committed to delivering on the promises of the Army Family Covenant and fulfilling our mission to provide Soldiers, civilians and their Families with a quality of life commensurate with the quality of their service.

MG Reuben D. Jones Commanding

Soldiers • April 2010


Army MWR enhancing lives of Soldiers, Families
By Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch
had the privilege of swearing in 46 new Army recruits at this year’s San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. As I led the young men and women in the Armed Forces Oath of Enlistment and looked out over the stands full of Soldiers and their Families (it was Military Appreciation Night), I was reminded in a powerful way of why we in the installation management community do what we do. The Soldiers who swear to serve and the Families who trust us with their Soldiers—their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers—rely on us to do right by them. The mission of the Installation Management community is to provide Soldiers, Families and Army civilians with a quality of life commensurate with their service. To do that, we provide services, facilities and infrastructure on installations around the globe—things like housing, public works, fire and police services, child care and Family programs. Our mission supports the Army Family Covenant, the Army’s formal pledge to sustain Soldiers and Families, and many of the programs and services we provide deliver on the covenant’s promises. Since the covenant’s launch in 2007, Army leaders have been steadfast in their commitment to Soldiers and Families, and remain so, even 4


• Employment Readiness • Army Spouse Employment Partnership • Exceptional Family Member Program • Family Advocacy Program
today in the face of decreasing budgets. The release of the Army’s fiscal year 2012 budget and Five-Year Defense Program confirmed what headlines have foreshadowed for months: We are all in for some belt tightening. Family programs will continue to be funded, but the installation management community also has the challenge to find ways to save money and operate efficiently. Last year, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates launched a drive to reduce overhead and excess costs across the Department of Defense. To do our part to support the Army’s efforts to find efficiencies and become more cost-conscious, we took a hard look at

established in 1918, until the 1960s, the focus was on services for the troops. The first Family services appeared in the 1960s, when Army Community Service and a Youth Activities Program were established, but the attitude that “if the Army wanted you to have a Family, it would have issued you one,” held on into the 1980s. In the 1980s, the Army started to take notice of a truth we readily recognize today, that the success of Soldiers, and ultimately the Army, is rooted in the strength of our Families. The creation of the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center in 1984 marked the shift in the focus of services to include Families as well, as did the establishment of the Army Family Action Plan. The Community and Family Support Center became the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command when the Installation Management Command stood up in 2006. The programs and services provided by MWR are indispensable to fulfilling the Army’s pledge to Soldiers and Families. In the most recent survey of Army Families, spouses told us that they need and are using MWR programs and services more than ever, and that these programs and services are making a bigger difference than ever in their satisfaction with Army life. In fiscal year 2010, Army Community Service staff alone had more than 14 million contacts with Soldiers, Family members and civilians through programs such as Mobilization/Deployment Readiness, Relocation Readiness, Financial Readiness, Army Emergency Relief, Employment Readiness, the Army Spouse Employment Partnership, the Exceptional Family Member Program, the Family Advocacy Program, Survivor Outreach Services, Soldier
Soldiers • June 2011

• Survivor Outreach Services • Army Community Service • Mobilization/Deployment Readiness • Relocation Readiness • Sports and fitness centers
our operations and staffing across the installation management community to identify duplicate services and functions. One cost-saving initiative we identified was to integrate one of Installation Management Command’s subordinate commands, the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, into the headquarters. This transition, through which FMWRC will become IMCOM headquarters’ G-9, is expected to be completed this summer. The organization has played an important role in the development of modern Army life. From its beginning, when the Army Morale Division was


and Family Assistance Centers, Army Family Team Building and the Army Family Action Plan. Other MWR programs and services include child care, youth programs, libraries, sports and athletics, lodging, fitness centers and the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program. In addition to integrating FMWRC into IMCOM headquarters, we have been working to increase the efficiency of individual MWR programs. For example, we recently launched an enhanced service delivery design for Army Community Service, which makes it even easier and quicker for Soldiers and Families to access services when and where they need them. Under the new design, Army Community Service is transitioning a number of personnel into generalist positions focused on helping Soldiers and Family members navigate services. Generalists will provide an array of baseline services, while specialists will still be available for the more complex and extended services. Army Community Service will also provide services at satellite locations, such as at units, post exchanges, commissaries and off-post sites. Likewise, with the Exceptional Family Member Program and the Survivor Outreach Services, we have worked hard to get the right people in place and improve processes, so that Soldiers and Families can access the services they need and deserve. We added system navigators to Exceptional Fam6

• Soldier and Family Assistance Centers • Army Family Team Building • Army Family Action Plan • Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers • Army Engineering Relief
ily Member Program staff at stateside and overseas garrisons to help Families connect to local, state and federal resources. We also increased the number of hours of respite care each month, providing Families with exceptional members a much-needed break. Launched in 2008, Survivor Outreach Services is a relatively new program charged with providing dedicated and comprehensive support to Family members of fallen Soldiers. SOS staffs have been tireless in reaching out to surviving Family members—in fiscal year 2010, they had more than 169,000 contacts with Family members in the United States, Germany and Korea—and in streamlining program processes. For example, in 2010, after it became clear that some survivors were having difficulty even getting on installations to see Survivor Outreach Services staff, we worked to get standardized windshield decals for survivors’ vehicles. We have also reinvigorated the Army Family Action Plan. The AFAP is a crucial tool for Soldiers, Family members and Army civilians to communicate with Army leaders about issues

• Youth programs • Libraries • Financial readiness • Lodging • Child care
affecting their quality of life. About 90 percent of issues are resolved at the local level, while the rest are elevated to higher levels. For issues elevated to the Army level, we have implemented a rigorous analysis and review process that has allowed us to reduce a backlog—from 86 active issues in February 2010 to 51 in February 2011—and to address new issues in a timelier manner. We have also established the Active Issue Search feature on the Army OneSource website (, so that Soldiers, Families and civilians can check on the status of issues at any time. Because MWR services are so vital to the resiliency of our Army Family, we cannot become complacent or fail to meet the challenges the current economic situation presents. No one should interpret any of our organizational changes, in particular the integration of FMWRC into headquarters, as negative commentary on the work done up to now. We have a talented, dedicated workforce that has done a tremendous job of supporting the wellbeing and readiness of Soldiers and their Families, and that will continue.

Soldiers and Families will continue to receive the high quality support and services they have come to rely on. Behind the scenes, though, we will be working smarter. By integrating services and functions, we will reduce duplication, inefficiency and cost. We will streamline delivery of services to our customers and generate savings that can be applied to supporting Soldier and Family programs and Army Force Generation requirements. Those new recruits I met that Friday night in February and the Soldiers and Family members who cheered them on are the reason we come to work in the morning. We are committed to serving those who serve our nation and to delivering on the promises of the Army Family Covenant to build Soldier and Family resilience and readiness. So in response to the current environment, we are making the organizational changes necessary to continue doing our jobs, only better. The long-term strength of our all-volunteer Army depends on the well-being of Soldiers and their Families. More than that, we owe it to our Soldiers and Families for their ongoing service, dedication and sacrifice. v

Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch is the commanding general of Installation Management Command.

Soldiers • June 2011


Meeting needs
ANT to voice your concerns about life on the installation to top Army leaders? Need help adjusting to postdeployment life, or maybe just a sympathetic ear? There’s a Family program to help with each of these issues, and for just about any others today’s Army Families face. Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command delivers a wide range of programs for Soldiers and Families. From the transformed Army Community Service program to the Exceptional Family Member Program, Family programs are constantly adapting to better serve those who serve. Whatever the problem, there’s a Family program with a solution, but knowing where and how to find them is half the battle. That’s where Army Community Service offices can help. Since the 1970s, Army Community Service has served as the “answer people,” according to Paulette Freese, chief of Policy and Operations Branch, Soldier Family Readiness Division. They cover an array of programs and support services, including the EFMP and Employment Readiness. But a comprehensive review of the ACS program found that Soldiers and Family members faced difficulty deciding which services best met their needs. To ensure a smooth hand-off between service providers, ACS will now train more “generalists” to help Soldiers and Family members find the right services to address their needs. From there, specialists will guide customers through more extensive services, as needed. A client tracking system ensures continual contact with the customer until they feel their needs have been met.
Anne Hwang Cpl. Gretchen M. Sweeney (right) and New Parent Support Program home visitor Elaine Sexton, a registered nurse at Fort Lee, Va., enjoy a moment with Emily, who was born six weeks premature. NPSP home visitors help military parents deal with the challenges of caring for children newborns up to three years of age. Jen Walsh Registered nurse Pamela Krings, with New Parent Support Program, Army Community Service Family Advocacy, shows a 2-year-old how to hold her future sibling as mom Laura Cashion looks on, at the Mannheim Community Baby Shower at the Sports Arena in Mannheim, Germany. The event was hosted by the Mannheim Army Health Clinic. Rob McIlvaine Survivor Outreach Services Soldiers/mentors give Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors kids a ride at the 2010 TAPS Fort Hood Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp. About 120 kids, ranging in age from 4 to 19, spent the weekend bonding with buddies. TAPS is an SOS program that helps children of fallen servicemembers heal after the loss of a parent.

Story by Shayna Brouker



Army Families
receipt of disability pay, military child development program fee cap and extending medical-retention processingtime restrictions for reserve-component Soldiers. Army Family Team Building is the primary education and training mechanism for Army Families. The modular training program is designed to provide Family members with the skills and tools necessary to successfully maneuver through the Army system, understand the military environment and way of life, and access the many resources and services available. Classes are divided into three levels—military knowledge, personal growth and professional development—and are available online 24/7 at, as well as at local Army Community Service or Family Programs offices. Army Family Team Building also offers the Enlisted Spouse Training Series, which prepares enlisted spouses for additional responsibilities as their Soldiers are promoted or assigned special duties as drill sergeants or recruiters, for example. The Army Volunteer Corps is a commander’s program to maximize volunteering via community and individual opportunities for Army personnel and their Families. The program exists to serve the needs of the entire Army community: active duty, National Guard and Reserve. The AVC coordinator serves as the installation point of contact for volunteerism, unifying volunteer efforts of Army activities and private organizations across the community. The AVC formalizes the Army’s commitment to volunteers by embracing volunteer programs and uniting volunteers. In the continuous process of Army community assessment and planning, volunteers share skills, information and experience to improve programs and services. Through volunteering, they become more active community members, enhance their personal and professional skills, reinforce their positive work habits and achieve personal fulfillment. Communities recognize their volunteers in a number of ways, both formally and informally. Every year, National Volunteer Recognition week acknowledges the contributions of volunteers. The theme for this year’s tribute, held April 10-16, was Celebrating People in Action. The Army created the Exceptional Family Member Program in the early 1980s to support the 16 percent of Family members with special physical, emotional, mental, developmental or educational needs. The program provides community support, housing, medical, educational and personnel services to
Soldiers • June 2011

“We want to use the terms ‘No wrong door for services,’” Freese said. “And, ‘No customer left behind.’” The pilot design was tested at 22 installations from February through March, and all garrisons are expected to operate under the new design beginning in October. Started in 1983 by Army spouses, the Army Family Action Plan enables Soldiers, retirees, civilians and Family members to let Army leaders know what works, what doesn’t work and what they think will fix it. This is the only program of its kind in the Department of Defense; however, more than 60 percent of all active issues impact all services. It begins at the garrison level and culminates at the Army Family Action Plan Conference. Information provided throughout the process gives leaders insight into current satisfaction detractors, quality of life needs and expectations of Army constituents. Leaders use the information to affect changes that improve standards of living and support programs, fostering satisfied, informed, resilient individuals. More than 660 issues have been identified in the past 27 years, leading to 123 legislative changes, 172 Army and Defense policy changes and 192 changes to programs and services. After a week of discussions at the most recent AFAP conference, delegates reported to Army leaders on the five most critical issues: identification cards for surviving children, formal standardized training for designated caregivers of wounded warriors, medically retired servicemembers’ eligibility for concurrent


Families with an exceptional Family member, and considers their needs when assigning Soldiers to new duty stations. Army Medicine launched a new website for the program, http://, in January. It offers information about Medical Command support, including enrollment, screening and medical care in Europe. Families can also download the required forms. Since 1995, the New Parent Support Program has given Army moms and dads the tools to build strong Families with playgroups, home visits, parenting classes and professional counseling. Licensed clinical social workers and registered nurses sensitive to the unique issues Army Families face, offer advice on everything from breastfeeding to deployment issues for Families with children from birth through the age of three. All active, Guard and Reserve Soldiers and their Families within a 50-mile radius of an installation are eligible for these services, but first-time parents, single parents and dual-military Families have priority. The Army Family Advocacy Program was established to identify and prevent domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. Part of that effort is treating and counseling victims and even offenders. The FAP offers victim advocacy support, parenting classes, anger and stress management support groups, new parent home visits, individual and group counseling, education and awareness, and information and resource referrals. The FAP also offers the Transitional Compensation Program, which provides financial support to a spouse whose Soldier has been court-martialed for domestic, child or sexual abuse. As of Jan. 21, 2011, the duration of Transitional Compensation benefits has been standardized to 36 months. Forty-nine Soldier and Family assistance centers across the country provide a nurturing atmosphere for Soldiers and their Families as they redeploy from war zones. These centers offer services such as entitlement and 10

Wesley Hughes spends time learning with his Exceptional Family Members Program counselor. EFMP offers respite care to give Family members a needed rest from caring for their EFM, reducing stress and enhancing home life. Christine June Arabella Quick (left), U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslaughtern, Germany’s assistant Army Emergency Relief officer, and Jacqueline Boone, the Garrison’s Employee Relations Program manager, inform a job hunter about Army programs available to him. The ERP helps Army spouses develop their own careers by providing valuable information and teaching job search skills. Emily Brainard Spc. Joshua Prieto Ruiz and his wife, Cristina, play with their 2-month-old son, Caleb, at their on-post home. The Family participates in Army Community Services’ New Parent Support Program, where they receive professional parenting guidance from a nurse.

benefits counseling, transition and employment assistance, educational services, substance abuse information and referrals for Family members, child care referrals and legal and pastoral services, among others. The centers coordinate with the Army Wounded Warrior Program and the Warrior Transitional Command, which develop a holistic care plan for each Soldier to help them rehabilitate and return to duty or transition to civilian life. Dedicated to providing support whenever needed, the Wounded Warrior and Family Hotline is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 1-800-984-8523. Dedicated to supporting Family members of Soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, Survivor Outreach Services helps surviving Family members acquire benefits, maintain financial stability through investment and estate planning education, connect with support groups and counseling services, and obtain life-skills education. The program vows to support surviving Family members however long they desire. The Mobilization and Deployment Readiness team works with unit Family readiness groups, Operation READY (Resources for Educating About Deployment and You), the Rear Detachment Commander’s Course and to assist Soldiers and Families throughout the Army Force Generation cycle. This coordinated effort provides Soldiers and Families with guidance, resources and training to help them cope with deployment stressors. The Army recognizes the importance of a spouse’s satisfaction with Army life. Since spouse support is tied to spouse perception of quality of life issues, including financial well-being and the spouse’s ability to realize personal and professional goals, spouse employment emerges as a major determining factor in Soldier retention. Employment Readiness supports the belief that every Army spouse

should have the choice to become employed, and provides resources to help them pursue careers. Professional job search trainers help job seekers identify short- and long-term career goals and develop an individual career plan. Job search trainers also provide access to seminars and workshops on job search strategies and databases. Employment Readiness program managers coordinate with installation civilian personnel offices, community agencies, DOD contractors, local employers and local Chamber of Commerce businesses to expand employment opportunities for spouses. The Army has entered into partnerships with Fortune 500 companies and public service organizations to further expand spouse employment opportunities. The program, currently called the Army Spouse Employment Partnership,

will soon be known as the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. It is an integral part of the Employment Readiness Program and private-sector, military and federal partners help provide employment opportunities to spouses of all branches of the military. The ACS Financial Readiness Program uses a varied approach to provide training and counseling for Soldiers and Families. The Military Saves program, part of the financial readiness campaign, encourages Soldiers and their Families to establish healthy financial habits through savings and financial planning, encouraging them to start small and think big. Financial readiness and consumer advocacy services are available at every installation. Through the FRP, Soldiers and Family members learn how to

invest their money, establish savings goals, eliminate debt and save for emergencies through classroom training and individual counseling sessions. Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the FRP also brings personal financial managers to installations to address areas such as foreclosure; credit management; and saving and investing in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, 401(k)s, annuities, IRAs and the Thrift Savings Plan. Relocation readiness is critical to managing the challenges of the mobile military lifestyle. The Relocation Readiness Program provides support services for Army personnel and their Families during military transitions, and focuses priorities to best meet the needs of the expeditionary Army. Those services include DOD Military Homefront (www. militaryhomefront.dod. mil), a website with links to military installation information. Plan My Move assists personnel and their Families with pre- and post-move needs, and counseling (individual or group) for inbound and outbound transferees. Education and training provides mandatory overseas orientations, re-entry workshops, pre- and post-move orientations, services to multicultural Families, outreach services for waiting Families, sponsor training and ACS liaisons to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Whatever the problem, a Family Program solution is only a call, click or visit away. As the Army continues to adapt to a changing environment, Family Programs will continue to adapt to serve Soldiers and Families and ensure mission readiness. v

Shayna Brouker works for IMCOM Public Affairs.

Soldiers • June 2011 11

Army Family Action Plan gives everyone a voice
Tim Hipps First Swing instructor Marty Ebel of the National Amputee Golf Association works with Sgt. Jameka Promise of the Warrior Transition Unit in Orlando during an Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command golf clinic at the Osprey Golf Course on Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Rick Scavetta Eria Laue, a victim advocate with Army Community Services at U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern, Germany, offers Sgt. John Eads advice on reintegrating to home life, post-deployment. Rob McIlvaine Toward the end of the 2010 Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors-sponsored Fort Hood Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp, the surviving children of the fallen had a chance to release balloons with private messages. Here, Soldier/mentor David Riecke helps Wayne secure his message: “I miss you.”


Story by Tim Hipps

HE Army Family Action Plan is a grassroots program that identifies and attempts to solve significant quality of life issues impacting Soldiers of all components, Families, retirees and Army civilians. The process begins at the installation level, where almost 90 percent of issues are resolved, according to Maj. Gen. Reuben Jones, commander of the Army’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. Handling issues at the local level results in ongoing community improvements. Issues beyond the local level are raised to command-level conferences and then to Army headquarters, where delegates from across the Army determine which will be selected for resolution by Army staff and Department of Defense agencies. “The issues that make their way to 12

Department of the Army headquarters all begin at a garrison or tenant unit, such as 5th (Special Forces) Group or an MI (military intelligence) brigade that belongs to Intelligence and Security Command, or maybe an engineering company that belongs to the Corps of Engineers,” explained Christina Vina, a program analyst who manages Army Family Action Plan Conference issues. The issues are vetted at the local level, and those that cannot be resolved are forwarded to higher commands, such as Forces Command, Training and Doctrine Command, the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Europe or Eighth Army. Those entities have their own conferences, where the issues are prioritized again. In addition to the Army commands, two special-interest groups, the Army Wounded Warrior Program and Survivor Outreach Services, have their own symposiums.

“At those conferences, their issues all deal with things affecting them,” Vine said. “(They) send their issues that cannot be resolved at their level up to headquarters, Department of the Army, and they come to me.” Those issues are presented at the DA-level conference, where delegates vote on which are most important and need immediate attention from the Army and/or DOD. The remaining issues are also worked toward a resolution, but the delegates prioritize the tasks, meaning they help focus the direction of policy and programming at the DOD level. For more information about the AFAP, visit www.myarmyonesource. com, or contact your local Army Community Service office. v

Tim Hipps works for FMWRC Public Affairs.

Oodles of child, youth programs
Story by William Bradner

Sheryl Nix

RMY Youth Programs provides affordable, accessible services for eligible Families both on and off post. Through formal partnerships with several nationally recognized, youth-serving organizations such as the Department of Agriculture, 4-H

and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Army kids have access to programs, standardized curricula, special events, camps, scholarships and more. Middle school programs are generally for sixth- through eighth-graders, and teen programs support youth in grades 9 through 12. After-school and summer programs

are provided through four service areas, each focusing on specific developmental outcomes. Sports, fitness and health options help youth engage in fun physical programs to develop life-long healthy habits, and to acquire the skills needed to achieve a balanced lifestyle. These programs introduce them to a variety

Dan Degrave, Automotive Skills Center worker, teaches his group how to assemble a bicycle during the EDGE! program’s Pedal On class at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Soldiers • June 2011 13

of traditional and non-traditional sports and games that foster sportsmanship, teambuilding, goal setting, and self-discipline in a positive setting. Life skills, citizenship and leadership opportunities are designed to provide service opportunities, develop leadership skills, experience the democratic process and acquire skills needed to become productive members of society. Programs facilitate ongoing workforce preparation, entrepreneurship experiences, computer competency and opportunities for peer-to-peer mentorship. Arts, recreation and leisure activities focus on the fine arts, including the performing, visual and literary arts. Recreation and leisure programs promote an appreciation for hobbies and the importance of relaxation in daily life. Finally, academic support, mentoring and intervention services provide homework assistance and tutoring, helping students develop study, goal setting and research skills. Program options promote health and prevention education, and teach conflict resolution and peer mediation. The EDGE! program ties all four service areas together, and provides children and youth with opportunities to Experience, Develop, Grow and Excel in a variety of areas through art, fitness, life skills and adventure activities. It offers garrison youth programs a standardized framework consisting of four broad interest-area packages: Art EDGE!, Life EDGE!, Fit EDGE! and Adventure EDGE! Art EDGE! promotes hands-on learning, and focuses on the development of lifetime skills through exposure to the arts. Art EDGE! activities increase creative development while building self-esteem. Activities include

ceramics, computer graphic design, digital filmmaking, digital music making, digital photography, drawing, fashion design, hip-hop, painting, scrapbooking, theater arts and woodworking, and vary depending on garrison resources. Fit EDGE! educates and encourages children and youth to live healthy through physical activity and nutritional awareness programs. Activities include adventure sports, aerobics, body sculpting, bowling, customized fitness programs, golf, nutrition, strength training, stress management, team and pick-up sports, weight management, weight training and yoga. Life EDGE! provides youth with skills for lifelong growth and encourages them to explore different career fields. Activities include age-specific basic cooking, baking and culinary art activities, auto maintenance and repair, book clubs, computer skills, consumer skills, health and food safety, ecology and living green, marketing and advertising, money management, pet care, research and study skills and time management. Adventure EDGE! encourages participants to embrace the outdoors and nature while being exposed to activities that stimulate relaxation. Garrison-level options include ecology, fishing, geocaching, hiking, kayaking, orienteering, rock or wall climbing, skiing and swimming. Programming varies by installation, depending on resources, and in some cases (such as intramural sports programs) the size of the garrison. To learn more, visit your local Child Youth and School Services offices or v
William Bradner works for FMWRC Public Affairs.

Kris Gonzalez

(Far left) Trevez Sandoval tries out tubing for the first time on Lake Tholocco, Fort Rucker, Ala., as an EDGE! program participant. Other activities included archery and badminton. (Photo by Emily Brainard)


(Left) The EDGE! program, an after school and summer program for children 6 to 18, offers an array of classes, including this do-it-yourself beauty class at Fort Jackson, S.C., in which participants made their own bubble bath. (Courtesy of the Fort Jackson Leader staff)

Emily Nodine, 9, adjusts the legs of a spider she crafted during a Magic Tree House book club meeting at the Thomas Lee Hall Library, Fort Jackson, S.C. The book club is part of the EDGE! program, an Army Family Covenant initiative.

(Far right) Kaylee Blumenfeld, Bailey Donato, Elizabeth Witsken and Ashley Morris dance and sing “The Prince Is Giving a Ball” during rehearsal for “Cinderella” at the post theater, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The after-school program Curtain Call, under the direction of Jeanne Witsken, is part of the EDGE! Program. (Photo by Russell Sellers) (Right) Colton Stinger, 14, and Scott Howard, 14, face off during an indoor soccer scrimmage at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Facility, Fort Rucker, Ala. The event was part of the EDGE! program’s activities. (Photo by Prudence Siebert)

Soldiers • June 2011 15

Removing educational obstacles for military


Story by Tim Hipps

school transition services

home-school linkage

deployment support

partnerships in education

post-secondary preparation


HE Army is working to ease the challenges of military children who move, on average, three times more often than their non-military peers and attend up to nine schools before graduating. Army School Support Services aims to remove many of the hurdles these students face, and helps fulfill the Army Family Covenant—the service’s promise to provide Army Families with a quality of life commensurate with their service and sacrifice. To deliver this promise, School Support Services provides school liaison officers with strong education backgrounds and experience to each Army installation. These liaisons offer support to garrison commanders, Army Families and school districts. Of about 640,000 Army schoolage children, one in seven has special needs. Each school district is different,

as are its procedures and regulations. Therefore, every time a child relocates, the differences may pose obstacles for Families. About a decade ago, the Army contracted with the Military Child Education Coalition to study the impact of school transitions on students and Families. That research—the Secondary Education Transition Study—illustrated a need for predictability and support in areas such as transfer of records, systems to ease student transition during the first two weeks they are in a new school, access to extracurricular activities and graduation requirements. As a result of the study, nine school districts collaborated and developed a memorandum of agreement in 2001, indicating they would work together to support military transitioning students and provide predictability for Families. Since then, about 400 school districts have signed the agreement.

Army school liaison officers played a major role in this increase. They are responsible for approaching all school districts within 50 miles of their garrisons that have more than 250 military students enrolled. Many have exceeded that requirement by also enlisting the cooperation of school districts within that 50-mile radius with fewer military students. “Through collaboration and partnerships with non-profit organizations and school districts, our Families have grown to count on innovative transition and support programs,” said Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, commanding general of the Installation Management Command and the assistant chief of staff for Installation Management. “Senior commanders stand ready and committed to support schools and communities as active partners in order to facilitate implementation of the needed programs.


Army School Support Services aims to remove many of the hurdles these students face, and helps fulfill the Army Family Covenant.

(Left) A Soldier speaks to school children about Army life during a Veterans Day event.

Many schools partner with the Army to develop Adopt-A-School and student mentoring programs.

“The school liaison program…develops and nurtures valuable educational partnerships within the Army and civilian communities. School liaison officers work to ensure our students have access to transition services that will provide a smooth takeoff and a soft landing,” Lynch added. As the critical link between a Family, the school district and the garrison, each school liaison officer provides six core services to assist Army Families: school transition services, deployment support, command-school-community communication, home-school linkage and support, partnerships in education/ Adopt a School and post-secondary preparation. “(There are) websites linking schools to garrisons, active Adopt-ASchool and mentoring programs, workshops to facilitate community, school and garrison understanding, support through the utilization and placement
Soldiers • June 2011 17

About 400 school districts nationwide work with the Army to support military transitioning students.

of military Family life consultants, assistance for all students—those in regular class, in advanced classes, with special needs and those who are being home-schooled,” Lynch said. During the 10 years since the original SETS study, the Army has led by example, Lynch said. “We even put it in writing… the Army Family Covenant promises support with standardized programs, quality health care and housing, along with excellent support of all youth services for our Soldiers and Families.” Although building learning environments that support students during school transitions continues to be an essential component of School Support Services, academic and personal management skills are also critical elements to ensure positive student outcomes in the 21st century, he added. It’s this level of support that allows Soldiers to focus on their mission and be prepared for short-notice calls to duty around the world. Since 2001, about 2 million children have experienced parental deployment, including 570,000 with parents serving in all Army components. 18

The Army School Support Services Strategic Plan was developed to address overarching elements—learning environment, academic skills, and personal management skills—that combined, produce a solid support system for Army kids. The plan details Child, Youth and School Services’ commitment to: standardized Army School Support Services for all Army Families; advocacy for quality education for Army children and youth; promotion of programs and services to support Army Families and stakeholders during all transitions, deployments, and Army transformation; and development of a strategic marketing plan for Army School Support Services. The plan was developed by an interdisciplinary group of professionals from the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command; Army Community Service; the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; the Soldier Family Readiness Division at the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management; the Defense Education Agency; the Departments of Education and Agri-

culture; and Education representatives from school districts and nonprofits nationwide. “This strategy is an incorporation of research-based goals established as a result of current issues and trends in education,” Lynch said. “It has established strategies for measuring academic, social and emotional support for Army children, pre-kindergarten to 20 years old. “Since we are talking about research, we are well on their way to completing the second phase of the original research study, called Educating the Military Child in the 21st Century,” Lynch continued. “Academic excellence, program access, and related support services for 700,000 Army-connected, school-age children

have been investigated in this twoyear study.” The components of the research are: updating secondary education, the implications of home-schooling choices for Army Families and the education-related effects of multiple deployments on school-age children. “I can’t wait to see what we learn from these results,” Lynch said. “These last (10) years were just the start. We continue to be committed to learning and leading as we begin to fully comprehend the impact of the military lifestyle on military children. The continued research and the School Support Services Strategic Plan will assure that the Army will be the driving force for student success.” v

Summertime fun for military children
By Tim Hipps
RMY Child, Youth and School Services officials believe that well-planned summer camps can have a positive impact on the lives of military children. Army installations host nearly 100 summer day camps schoolage children can attend during the duty day. Some campers arrive earlier in the morning and some attend half days. Army Child and Youth Services personnel staff all camps. The Army’s school-age summer camps provide options for military parents that promote quality educational, recreational, social, enjoyable experiences for their kids. Meals and snacks are also provided. Whether producing or acting in a skit or play, painting a mural, or going on a field trip, summer camp is designed to be educational, entertaining and fun. Many of the camps feature themed weeks—such as drama week, music week and technology week—and campers can pick and choose when they would like to attend. Fees are paid on a weekly basis and costs are determined by an income-based sliding scale. With precision planning, summer camp can help supplement structure in youths’ lives without encroaching on their playtime, and create memories worthy of a lifetime. “When I think back about my childhood, what do I remember most? It’s not about being in school. I remember everything about being outside in the summer,” said Mary Ellen Pratt, chief of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Child Development Programs. v


Soldiers are afforded the opportunity to volunteer in their communities through mentorship programs.

Soldiers • June 2011 19

Kris Gonzalez


prepares children for kindergarten


Karl Weisel (Above) Jalen Custard, whose mother is on a 15-month deployment, shows his graduation certificate to his second-tier guardian, Staff Sgt. Juanita Sealey after successfully completing the Strong Beginnings program at USAG Wiesbaden, Germany. (Left) Students of Fort Jackson, S.C.’s Strong Beginnings program are all smiles after graduation.

Story by Rob McIlvaine
HE Army’s Child, Youth and School Services’ Strong Beginnings pre-kindergarten program, designed for 4- to 5-year-old children, prepares young students for school with lessons in everything from science and technology to how to hold a carton of milk or carry a food tray. Besides the basics of “kindergarten protocol,” Strong Beginnings also teaches math, social studies, beginning reading and writing skills and good manners. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia (not counting Head Start or Migrant Worker programs) have a state- or district-operated, pre-kindergarten program similar to the Army’s. However, space is sometimes limited, and in six states enrollments are limited to 800 or fewer children. “In addition, each state has different learning standards, policies and procedures, making it difficult for mobile Families to transition from one


state to another,” said Mary Ellen Pratt, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreations chief of Child Development Programs. “The Army needed to ensure that regardless of the Family’s location, Army children are prepared to enter kindergarten. Our pre-k standards meet or exceed every state’s standards.” In some locations, the Army has partnered with states to jointly operate the pre-k program. The Army’s Strong Beginnings program is available at every Army garrison and has standard guidance and procedures, making the program consistent and predictable. The program, which is three hours long, five days a week, is provided in child development centers’ full-day and part-day programs for children entering kindergarten in the fall. There is no additional fee for children who attend the full-day program, as it is included as part of the monthly tuition, Pratt said. Strong Beginnings children also receive one instructional class as part of their tuition, such as beginning Spanish or tumbling. Army early learning standards were developed by Teaching Strategies of Bethesda, Md. “Teaching Strategies is one of the most well-known and

respected early childhood development firms in the nation,” Pratt said. According to Pratt, Teaching Strategies researched and analyzed the standards of every state, D.C. and the Department of Defense Education Activity and garnered the “best of the best” to create the Army-specific Strong Beginnings Early Learning Standards for Children Entering Kindergarten. The Creative Curriculum for Preschool is the only authorized curriculum for Strong Beginnings and is the most widely used curriculum for pre-kindergarten programs in America. “This comprehensive curriculum and assessment system is scientifically based, research-tested and provides teachers with strategies for meeting children’s individual needs and learning styles,” Pratt said. “It focuses on literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, technology and process skills, and includes a parent-participation component.” Parents play a major role in Strong Beginnings, particularly during town hall meetings where they discuss expectations and learn about the Army’s ability to prepare their children for school. There are also parent-teacher conferences during the fall, mid-year
Soldiers • June 2011 21

Kris Gonzalez Cheyanne Norman, 4, receives her Strong Beginnings graduation diploma from lead teacher Debra Asberry at Fort Jackson, S.C.’s Main Post Chapel. Cheyanne was one of 40 preschoolers in the program. Rob Schuette

and prior to graduation, where parents receive updates on their children’s progress. Parents are also provided opportunities to actively support the program through volunteering in the classroom and on field trips, for example. There’s also a summer pre-k bootcamp. This one-week, intensive orientation to kindergarten is aimed at children who never attended Strong Beginnings or moved to the garrison over the summer. This provides children an opportunity to learn about their new community, as well as obtain a better understanding of what kindergarten will be like. Finally, there’s a graduation ceremony to mark the transition from pre-kindergarten to kindergarten. Although not a college graduation extravaganza, it does include caps, gowns and diplomas. “Most children and virtually all

Betsy Tadisch and Lisa Bjerke of the Strong Beginnings classroom lead Child Development Center youth in a planned activity at Fort McCoy, Wisc.

parents get really excited over this big day,” Pratt said. “Not having a graduation would be a letdown for all the children who worked so hard throughout the year. It is recognition that these children are well-prepared for their

future. This day marks the beginning of the rest of their lives.” v
Rob McIlvaine worked for FMWRC Public Affairs at the time this article was written. He is now with the Army News Service.


The Army in Action


Children from the Fort McPherson, Ga., Child Development Center Preschool I and II class play ball during recess. (Photo by Kevin Stabinsky) 24

Soldiers • December2011 25 Soldiers • June 2010

army news
Army adjusts retention-control points
EW retention-control points for privates through staff sergeants took effect June 1. The new RCPs decrease the time Soldiers and junior NCOs can stay in their current rank by an average of three years. The new RCPs will affect active-duty Soldiers and those in the Active Guard Reserve, or AGR force, officials said. They will not apply to mobilized Guard and Reserve Soldiers. The change will align RCPs with the Army Leadership Development Strategy, said Sgt. Maj. Dean Drummond, senior career counselor, G-1. One goal of the new RCPs is to motivate Soldiers to “step it up a little” with their professional development so that they can be promoted with their peers, Drummond said.


Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III tells members of Congress that the Army’s new retention-control points will be one tool used to eventually help draw down the Army’s temporary end-strength increase of 22,000 Soldiers. (Photo by C. Todd Lopez)

Beginning June 1, the RCP for privates through privates first class decreased from eight years service to only five years.

The RCP for corporals and specialists went from 10 years to eight years of service. Promotable Soldiers in the grade of E-4 will be allowed to stay up to 12 years. For the past three years, they have been allowed up to 15 years of service. Sergeants will be allowed 13 years and those who have been selected for promotion but have not yet pinned on their stripes will be allowed 15 years of service. The new RCP for staff sergeants is 20 years of service. Since 2008, they have been allowed 23 years. There will be no change in the RCPs for promotable staff sergeants through command sergeants major. E-9s will continue to reach their RCP at 32 years. v — ARNEWS

HE Army recently began construction on the first fuselage of its next-generation AH-64 Block III Apache helicopter. The new attack helicopter will be built with a stronger engine, improved avionics, better computer networking capability and increased maneuverability when compared with current models, service officials said. 


Army building first Block III Apache
The first Block III aircraft will roll off Boeing’s Mesa, Ariz., production line this fall, said Lt. Col. Dan Bailey, product manager for the program. The first two aircraft will be used for developmental purposes, and the next five will be used to train the first unit equipped, he said. The Apache Block III aircraft will begin to be fielded with units by the end of 2012, Bailey said.  Overall, the Army plans to acquire 690 Block III Apaches between now and 2026 at a production rate of roughly two battalions per year, beginning in fiscal year 2013. Of those, 643 will be re-manufactured aircraft and 56 will be “new builds,” Bailey explained.  The Block III Apache features a 701D engine, composite rotor blades, improved networking and communications avionics, and an Improved Drive System of the 21st Century—known as IDS-21—Face Gear Transmission. “The new 701D engine has a significant increase in reliability based on new coating, new metal and increased airflow, which allows it to operate at higher temperatures,” Bailey said. The IDS-21 improves efficiency because the transmission combines the output torque of two engines into a single-power torque transmission.  The Block III—like earlier Apaches—will also have High Performance Shock Strut advanced landing gear, which will allow for hard landings, Bailey said. In addition, the Apache Block III will include level-4 manned-unmanned teaming—technology which will allow aircraft pilots to control the sensor payloads of nearby unmanned aircraft systems while viewing their live, real-time video feeds, Bailey said. v — Kris Osborn/ASA(ALT) Public Affairs

DCMA and Boeing representatives examine the paperwork that accompanied the fuselage of the first AH-64D Apache Block III helicopter upon its arrival at the Mesa, Ariz., receiving dock earlier this year. (Courtesy photo)


From Army News Service and other sources

Army gears up for largest network evaluation B
S preparations for the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation kick into high gear, Soldiers, engineers, combat developers and test officials have been joining forces at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The NIE, scheduled for June and July, will be the Army’s largest and most robust network test and evaluation effort to date, according to program officials. “We have hundreds of subjectmatter experts from the test, acquisition and requirements communities converging at Fort Bliss to begin integration work in support of the Army’s top modernization priority…delivering an integrated network,” said Col. John Wendel, deputy program executive officer for Networks, PEO Integration. The NIE has been termed “the largest operational test in the history of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command, in terms of number of systems being tested and number of personnel supporting.” This year’s NIE is actually the first of a series of four major test and evaluation events aimed at synchronizing multiple programs and evaluating technologies to determine how well they fit into a larger, integrated tactical network, according to the Army Test and Evaluation Command. The culminating event, scheduled for late 2012, will help slate the content for the first network “capability set” to be fielded to deploying brigades in the 2013-2014 timeframe. More than 4,000 Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, will be executing the six-week test and evaluation this year. They have spent the past several months preparing for the NIE in both field training and classroom exercises. v — Katie Cain/PEO Integration

Promotion-point calculations change
EGINNING this month, Soldiers seeking advancement to sergeant or staff sergeant will find that the Army has automated its promotion-point calculation and changed the way points are earned. The Army has modified it’s SemiCentralized Promotion System. Soldiers can still earn a maximum of 800 points on the promotion-point worksheet, but where those points come from has changed. The biggest change is that points will no longer come from either a promotion board or a Soldier’s commander—two areas in which Soldiers were previously able to earn as many as 300 points. However, commanders will still be able to recommend Soldiers for promotions, and boards will still provide a “go” or “no-go” for promotion. “It…allows us to be more fair and objective in our promotion points, as opposed to a subjective system,” said Brig. Gen. Richard P. Mustion, the Army’s adjutant general. “Yet it retains the responsibility of the chain of command. It doesn’t undercut the chain of command in any way.” Those 300 points have been moved to other sections of the promotion-point worksheet. The largest increase in max points is in the area of military training. The max points have also increased for military education. Another major change under the new system: No points will be awarded for sub-course completion, only for finishing a course in its entirety. Also beginning this month, promotion points will be automatically calculated from Army databases. The manual calculation process is gone, Mustion said. “As soon as a Soldier makes a change and it gets posted to the personnel and training system, the promotion points get recalculated. You’ll be able to go in and see your promotion points went from 700 to 710, based on completing a course, or receiving an award.” v — C. Todd Lopez/ARNEWS
Soldiers • June 2011 27

Vehicles of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, are lined up at a sprawling motor pool, ready to begin the Network Integration Exercise.

Armed Forces Recreation Centers
Story by William Bradner


ROM strolling barefoot on the sandy shores of Waikiki, to exploring medieval European castles or the exotic city of Seoul, Armed Forces Recreation Center resorts provide an array of affordable, world-class vacation opportunities for eligible guests.

The AFRCs are operated by the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. Eligible guests include active-duty and reserve-component servicemembers, retirees, current and retired Department of Defense civilians, delayed-entry recruits and Family members.

Room rates are based on a sliding scale according to pay grade, so junior servicemembers and their Families can afford the same accommodations general officers might enjoy. The resorts have the same force protection measures found on Army garrisons, ensuring safety and security.


HE Cape Henry Inn and Beach Club is located on Fort Story, Virginia Beach, Va., on the Chesapeake Bay—one of the most popular vacation destinations on the Eastern seaboard. Cape Henry embodies the simple joys of beach living, with views of bottleneck dolphins and aweinspiring sunsets over the bay. The inn offers a variety of comfortable lodging to fit all vacation styles, from luxury suites with kitchenettes and private balconies to bungalows, log cabins and cottages on the beach with bayside decks. The inn sits on the edge of a bustling tourist area, with historic sites, nature walks, whale watching, museums, shopping and dining, all minutes away. Nearby Jamestown, established in 1607, was the first permanent English settlement in North America. The Hampton Roads area is also home to Williamsburg, where travelers can get a glimpse of colonial life.



Y contrast, the Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul, is nestled in the heart of a thriving metropolis. The lodge, on Yongsan Garrison, is minutes from downtown Seoul’s historic landmarks, shopping districts and the beautiful Namsan National Park.

Despite its towering buildings and neon-lighted streets, Seoul preserves its historic spirit, traditions and culture. Modern coffee shops share sidewalk space with street vendors and traditional teahouses. Visitors to the city also have access to a wide range of cultural events, parades and festivals.

The Dragon Hill can also help guests arrange vacation activities ranging from unique shopping trips in the heart of Seoul to tours of ancient temples, with stops at traditional entertainment venues, ski slopes and amusement parks.


DELWEISS Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, may never be called a thriving metropolis. Fifty-six miles from Munich, the resort sits at the foot of the Bavarian Alps and offers guests views of alpine vistas, Olympic-quality skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing and hiking. The resort features intimate rooms with spectacular views from private balconies, cozy cabins and camping facilities. The staff coordinates daily activities, ranging from guided tours of historic European castles to tandem paragliding from nearby mountaintops. The resort has an indoor pool,

hot tub, spa, wellness club, massage services, casual and fine dining and a comfortable lobby with a fireplace. John Kelmelis, a recent guest, summed up his stay: “Our military deserves the best vacation experience— and you provide it!”

Soldiers • June 2011 29


OR those who love both beaches and mountains, the Hale Koa Hotel on the pristine shores of Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, offers a 72-acre recreational oasis. Surfing, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, hiking and golf outings can be arranged through guest services, and guests will also find easy access to tennis and racquetball courts, sand volleyball, swimming pools and spa services. In the evenings the resort offers magic shows, local music and traditional dance exhibitions, and what some describe as the best luau on Waikiki Beach. “I just returned from 15 months in Iraq, and this was my dream vacation. The Hale Koa exceeded all of the rave reviews I had heard about it,” wrote Shannon Holdsclaw, a Fort Huachuca, Ariz., Soldier, in a letter to the hotel. “Thank you for providing such an outstanding facility for military personnel and their Families.”


More info :


ack on the mainland, the Shades of Green resort, located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, offers friendly hospitality and choice accommodations, and is a premiere vacation destination for Families. Surrounded by cascading waterfalls, tropical gardens, Koi ponds, several swimming pools and two world-class golf courses, the resort also offers guests free transportation to the Disney theme parks and early admission to select resort attractions. When guests stay at Shades of Green, the question is not, “What is there to do?” but rather, “How much can we fit into one day?” Perhaps the most important benefit to staying at any Armed Forces Recreation Center is the fact that all guests are members of the military Family—people who serve together and share life experiences. As one guest at the Shades of Green explained, “If it suddenly dawns on me that (my husband) is leaving in three days to go back to

The Cape H en 1116 Kwa ry Inn and Beach Clu jalein Road b For t Story, Va. 23459 -50 Phone: (75 Iraq, and I break down in tears, I’m 7) 422-88 34 18 Fax: (757) surrounded by people who under42 www.capeh 2-6397 stand, have been there and can m help.” Edelweiss Because the resorts are owned Lod From Euro ge and Resor t and operated by the U.S. military, pe: (00-49 ) 08821-9 From CONU 440 room rates and merchandise purS: Monday–F (011-49) 8821-944 chased on the properties are tax rida 0 Email: vaca y, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ce exempt, an added value to the tion@edelw ntral Europ ea e Website: w budget-conscious vacationer. ww.edelwe isslodgeandresor n Time isslodgean m dresor The resorts also frequently offer m Hale Koa H discounts and specials. ote From CONU l For more information, S: Monday–S (800) 367-6027 visit v aturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p Email: rese .m. r vations@ Hawaii Standard Tim Website: w e m ww.halekoa .com Dragon Hill Lo From CONU dge S: (011-82 -2) 7918-2 Email: rese 222 (24 h r vations@ ours) dhl.korea.a Website: w ww.dragon m Shades of Green From CONU S: Monday–F (888) 593-2242 riday, 8:30 a.m Email: rese r vations@ . to 5 p.m. Eastern T shadesofg ime Website: w ree ww.shades
Soldiers • June 2011 31

Elite Soldier-athletes
Story and photos by Tim Hipps


CTIVE-duty, Reserve and National Guard Soldiers who are competitive on the national and international levels in any Olympic sport can apply for the Army World Class Athlete Program. The program allows Soldiers to train full time for a shot at the Olympics and World Championships. All applicants must be eligible to represent the United States in international competitions. Officers must be branch-qualified, and enlisted Soldiers MOS-qualified. They also must demonstrate the potential to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team or U.S. Paralympic Team. Selection standards for each sport are listed at under Sports and World Class Athlete Program. v

(Above left) Army World Class Athlete Program bobsled pilot Sgt. John Napier drives to a second-place finish at the U.S. World Cup Bobsled Team Trials with WCAP brakeman 2nd Lt. Chris Fogt aboard, Oct. 24, 2010, in Park City, Utah. (Left) U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program boxer Capt. Michael Benedosso (foreground in red) advances to the light flyweight finale of the 2010 Conseil International du Sport Militaire Military World Boxing Championships with an 8-3 victory over Pvt. Debendro Singh of India, Oct. 13, 2010, at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.


Army World Class Athlete Program runners Maj. Dan Browne (bib No. 1) and Spc. Robert Cheseret (bib No. 11) flank the front line of fast starters in the 26th Army Ten-Miler, Oct. 24, 2010 at the Pentagon. Cheseret finished third with a time of 48 minutes, 28 seconds. Brown was fourth in 48:22.

Army World Class Athlete Program Greco-Roman wrestler Spc. Jeremiah Davis (bottom in red) throws Spc. Nathan Piasecki en route to victory in the finals of the 60-kilogram/132-pound division of the 2010 U.S. World Team Trials for Wrestling at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Soldiers • June 2011 33

Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Piper

Story by Tim Hipps

So far, the program has served about 1,450 platoons, or 37,554 Soldiers.

ARRIOR Adventure Quest is a training tool designed to introduce recently redeployed Soldiers to activities that serve as alternatives to potentially destructive behaviors. The program combines existing highadventure recreation activities—such as whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, paintball, skeet shooting, canoeing, skiing and skydiving—with a leader-led after action debrief developed by the Army medical professionals. All of the activities are structured and monitored by morale, welfare and recreation outdoor recreation experts in a controlled setting, usually within 90 days of returning from combat. The goal is to prevent Soldiers from seeking high-risk adventures on their own by introducing them to safe, structured adventure activities, while keeping them surrounded by


High-adrenaline activities help Soldiers transition
“teammates” who help ensure safety remains a top consideration. WAQ incorporates resiliency training to help redeployed troops adjust to a calmer-paced lifestyle than the one they left behind. Experts said such psychological resilience-building programs help Soldiers recognize and respond to fear during combat and mitigate the cumulative effects of a sustained deployment. They help Soldiers mentally prepare to reintegrate during the redeployment, postdeployment and reset portions of the deployment cycle. Soldiers who participate in WAQ are expected to incorporate team building with skills learned or reinforced during the program and walk away with a newfound passion for leisure activities that can enhance their overall quality of life. So far, the program has served about 1,450 platoons, or 37,554 Soldiers. An initial data check of nearly 10,454 Soldiers who participated in a WAQ program found that they were involved in 50.4 percent fewer accidents that resulted in fatality, or permanent or partial disability, compared to a similar-sized cross section of Soldiers who had not participated. They also reported 32.8 percent fewer accidents resulting in restricted work ability or one or more days away from work. For more information, contact John O’Sullivan, the WAQ program manager at v

Monica Wood

Soldiers • June 2011


Spcs. Craig Smith (left) and Filipe Hill block a Navy competitor from the ball during wheelchair-basketball preliminaries at the 2010 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Elizabeth M. Collins)

Leveling the playing field
Story by Luke Elliott

Innovative recreation opportunities available for wounded Soldiers


HILE providing premier recreation opportunities for Soldiers returning from combat is a challenge, it is particularly difficult for Soldiers who were wounded in combat. To help meet the recreational needs of the Army’s wounded warriors, 180 recreation professionals participated in a course called Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors. The four-day course, provided by the Pennsylvania State University Outreach Programs, is designed to train staff to successfully integrate active-duty wounded warriors into existing morale, welfare and recreation programs and services. 36

“The course involves the ability to recognize the unique needs and characteristics of wounded warriors and be able to respond to their needs,” said Sandra Nordenhold, chief of MWR recreation programs. “The course focuses on the real-life needs of wounded warriors and their Families, and offers personal perspectives by individuals who have experienced a psychological or physical disability.” The course was developed in response to increased demand for installation recreation staff to understand how recreation can help wounded troops and their Families cope after long deployments and lengthy hospital stays, she added.

“Appropriate inclusive recreation programming is beneficial in helping the injured, the spouse and the children adjust to and thrive in their newfound situation,” said Nordenhold. “By adapting equipment and instituting inclusive recreation programming, it also allows the wounded warrior to participate in a recreational activity with his or her Family, where it may not have been possible before. It brings Families together and makes a Soldier more resilient.” FMWRC plans to continue implementing this inclusion philosophy into its programs and will send an additional 180 recreation professionals to attend the course in the next few years.

Some steps being taken to implement this program across the Army garrisons include: the purchase of adapted wheelchairs in Hawaii to ensure wounded warriors can access the beach; inclusive horseback riding at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and Fort Campbell, Ky.; and the purchase of adaptive bicycles and paving of fishing areas for easier accessibility at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill. A partnership is also being developed with the National Amputee Golf Association to bring an amputee clinic to Fort Sill, Okla. v
Staff Sgt. Raul Martinez (right) instructs Staff Sgt. Robert O’Hagan on the finer points of drawing a bow during a quarterly Warrior Transition Battalion adaptive sports competition at the Fort Sam Houston, Texas, archery field. (Photo by L.A. Shively)

Luke Elliot works for IMCOM Public Affairs.

Soldiers • June 2011 37

Par excellence
(Above photos) First Swing instructor Marty Ebel of the National Amputee Golf Association works with Staff Sgt. Jameka Promise of the Warrior Transition Unit in Orlando during an Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command golf clinic at the Osprey Golf Course on Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Left) PGA Tour golfer Rory Sabbatini works with Spc. Brandon Cornwell of the 53rd Infantry Brigade in Cocoa Beach, Fla., during a Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command golf clinic for wounded Soldiers and veterans at the Osprey Ridge Golf Course on Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Wounded Warrior golf clinics offer rehab alternative
Story by Steven J. Ryan Photos by Tim Hipps


IRST Swing” Golf Clinics offer warriors in transition an alternative to traditional rehabilitation efforts. The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command developed the clinics in partnership with the National Amputee Golf Association to introduce wounded warriors to a game that allows them to have fun away from the hospital, and reinforces their return to normal daily activities.

The clinics also serve, for many warriors, as the initial exposure to a game they can play for a lifetime. They are designed to accommodate all skill levels, introducing the game to firsttime golfers and coaching experienced players through adaptive and gameimproving techniques. The most recent of these clinics was conducted late last year in conjunction with the annual Disney Children’s Miracle Network Golf Classic. The Disney Classic is an annual event on the PGA Tour, and is conducted on courses bordering the Shades of Green resort, an Armed Forces Recreation Center in Florida. The clinic was held on the Osprey Ridge Golf Course, in Orlando, Fla., and hosted members of the local wounded warriors community. The clinic consisted of a two-hour block of one-on-one golf instruction at the driving range for players of all

levels. It also included a short game and putting contest. National Amputee Golf Association instructors Marty Ebel and Rick Monroe and PGA Tour players Rory Sabatini and Kris Blanks assisted with the instruction and provided a short demonstration of various shots. Eleven Soldiers from the local warrior transition unit and 19 retirees who were guests at Shades of Green participated in the clinic. For the majority of the Soldiers, this was their first experience with golf, though many of the retirees were regular players. The FMWRC will continue to coordinate with the National Amputee Golf Association, local medical battalions, and other PGA adaptive golf instructors to enhance the annual Orlando clinic and add sites at other garrisons to provide additional rehabilitation options for returning warriors in transition. v

Steven J. Ryan works for FMWRC Business Development.


Helping Soldiers, Families, civilians
Story by Evan Dyson
MAGINE a tool that could bring together geographically dispersed Soldiers and their Families as interactive avatars. The space would provide a venue for group activities including live music performances, games, fitness activities and team meetings. Army OneSource, a service of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, is making this a reality, developing a Virtual Resiliency Campus within the Second Life virtual community. “The Virtual Resiliency Campus will heighten the awareness of existing programs and services, while expanding the Army’s ability to interact with Soldiers and Families in a modern, safe and interactive virtual world,” said Shaunya Murrill, chief of Outreach and Strategic Integration within the command’s Family Programs Directorate. “The campus contains five centers that were specifically designed to complement the five dimensions of strength that serve as the cornerstones of the Army’s Comprehensive Soldiers Fitness Program,” said Murrill. “These centers are physical, emotional, social, Family and spiritual.” Ron Huggler of Installation Management Command’s office of the chief of chaplains noted that chaplains and counselors would be accessible in the virtual world in the future. In the meantime, virtual kiosks promote the Army OneSource phone number, 1-877-811-ARMY, where visitors can seek help navigating most of the Army’s support services. Huggler says any material found in the virtual campus can also be accessed at or a garrison chaplain’s office. “Both (Second Life and the website) have the same purpose, and that is to help Soldiers, Family members and DA (Department of the Army) civil-


ians,” he said. “Both sites are geared to help anybody wherever they are on their spiritual journey.” Although it is still in a developmental phase, Soldiers are already using some areas. As an example, “Camp Phoenix,” hosts events for warriors in transition. Rather than requiring wounded warriors to physically report in a daily formation, “Camp Phoenix” holds daily virtual formations, both for

accountability and to give leadership an opportunity to address all the warriors at once. Additional applications will emerge as the Virtual Resiliency Campus continues to develop. The campus is accessible through the armyonesource. com portal. v
Evan Dyson works for FMWRC Public Affairs

Soldiers • June 2011 39

The Soldier Show experience
Story by Luke Elliott


ACH year, 14 to 18 active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers are selected to serve as cast members of the U.S. Army Soldier Show. With more than 100 performances at 54 installations across the globe, the Soldier Show is an annual song-anddance production presented by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command’s Army Entertainment Division. “We travel with lighting, video, tractor trailers,” said John Stewart, the show’s director. “It is a full-scale production on the level of any professional travelling show. The only thing is, Soldiers are putting on the show.” The ability to sing and dance is only part of the qualification criteria. Cast members must represent the Army well in appearance, fitness and bearing, said Stewart, who has been with the Soldier Show since 2007, serving as the noncommissioned officer in charge from 2007 to 2008, and as the director since 2009. “It is a reward and a privilege for a Soldier to participate in the Soldier Show,” said Stewart. “Units only allow their best Soldiers to come and represent them. I expect these Soldiers to give a 100-percent effort. We don’t expect them to know everything. All we need is a Soldier who has a desire and is willing to commit to putting in the required time. Our staff will get them to where they need to be.” Soldier Show cast members can expect to work seven days a week start40

ing in late February until the first show in late April or early May, said Stewart. Actual performance time is about 190 hours, technical time about 600 hours and rehearsal time about 576 hours. “You take all of these requirements, and our average work week is around 72 hours,” said Stewart. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s one of the most gratifying experiences in the Army because you are touching people’s lives.” With so many shows and locations, life on the road with the Soldier Show is a fast-paced experience. “The Soldiers all travel together on a bus, sometimes covering up to 500 miles a day,” said Stewart. “They room together throughout the tour, so camaraderie and teamwork is something we stress.” While the 2011 season is currently underway, the next season is just around the corner, and it is never too early to apply. Application deadline for the Soldier Show is typically in January, but recruiting efforts are year-round. “We are constantly recruiting for the next year,” said Stewart. “We are always looking for talented Soldiers. We have even auditioned people at shows (while on tour).” Soldiers interested in auditioning should submit their application packet before the January deadline. Details can be found at under the “Entertainment” tab. Qualified Soldiers can also contact the Soldier Show director by email at johnny.e.stewart@ v

Sgt. Kevin Cherry re-enacts the late Michael Jackson’s song,”Billie Jean,” June 10, 2010, at the Fort Rucker, Ala., Post Theater. Cherry and 21 other U.S. Army Soldier Show cast members paid tribute to the late musician. (Photo by Emily Brainard)

Spc. David Plasterer of Camp Hovey, Korea, and Pfc. Andrew Clouse of Fort Gordon, Ga., play “Walking on Sunshine” during rehearsal for the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show at the Wallace Theater on Fort Belvoir, Va. (Photo by Tim Hipps)

Spc. Richard Sianoya of Fort Irwin, Calif., seen here dancing in the middle of a gospel section of the 2006 U.S. Army Soldier Show, is the winner of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command-sponsored 2007 Operation Rising Star singing contest. (Photo by Tim Hipps) Sgt. 1st Class Michael Carter of Fort Irwin, Calif., sings “Indestructible” alongside guitarist Spc. David Palmer of Fort Riley, Kan., during rehearsal for the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show at Wallace Theater on Fort Belvoir, Va. (Photo by Tim Hipps)

Sgt. Ericka Escalante is front and center as the U.S. Army Soldier Show performs Prince’s “Seven” during rehearsal for the 2007 U.S. Army Soldier Show tour. Sgt. Anthony Gentilo stands in the middle, flanked by Staff Sgt. Patricia Isaac (left). (Photo by Tim Hipps)

Soldiers • June 2011


The Army’s version of ‘American Idol’

2010 Operation Rising Star contestants perform at zzrit wisisit eu feugue Belvoir, Va. Tat, con velissit nos autet wisisim iure commy nulla amWallace Theater, Fort feum dolorti onsequisl ea faccum dolorpercil dunt alit wissenim


Story and photos by Tim Hipps
PERATION Rising Star, the annual singing contest for U.S. military personnel and Family members, was originally licensed through Freemantle Media to mirror Fox’s most popular TV show, “American Idol,” complete with a trip to Hollywood for the winner. The production begins with local competitions on installations and at garrisons around the world. From the local winners, a panel of judges selects 12 semifinalists who travel to Fort Bel-


voir, Va., for a weeklong competition televised by the Pentagon Channel and webcast worldwide on the Internet. “American Idol” vocal coach Debra Byrd, country music artist Michael Peterson and the 12th Sgt. Maj. of the Army Jack L. Tilley served as judges. They have been joined in a musical chair of celebrity judges including Josh Gracin, Kimberly Caldwell, Kandi Burruss and Jaci Velasquez. Viewers get to vote online for their favorite performers, who are narrowed

to three finalists by the third of four shows during finals week. Following that show, the winner is announced at a reveal show. Operation Rising Star champions earn a trip to California, usually during Grammy Week, to record a three-song demo album at Firehouse Recording Studios in Pasadena. The contest is open to all military and their Family members, 18-andolder. For more information visit v

2010 Operation Rising Star winner Melissa Gomez of Fort Bragg, N.C., performs during the reveal show, Nov. 19, 2010, at Wallace Theater, Fort Belvoir, Va.

Operation Rising Star host GeNienne Samuels announces Melissa Gomez (right) of Fort Bragg, N.C., as winner of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Commandbacked military singing contest, Nov. 19, 2010, at Wallace Theater, Fort Belvoir, Va. Runner-up Maj. Serelda Herbin of Fort Hood, Texas, stands on the left.

got talent?

Soldiers • June 2011


Mobile MWR hits the app store
Rob McIlvaine

Story by Evan Dyson


HE Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command recently developed and produced an iPhone application, bringing its resources to customers and employees on a mobile platform. The “Mobile MWR” app, which will be updated progressively, provides consolidated access to a variety of resources available though Users can also browse news updates, social media sites and videos from the command. “It’s impossible to know exactly

where the future is headed, but what we do know is that more and more people are turning from desktop computers to mobile communication devices,” said Ed Johnson, director of FMWRC Public Affairs. “It’s important to note that this is not just developed for MWR customers,” Johnson continued. “We included resources for both customers

and employees; if you’re affiliated with Army MWR in any way, this app may be of use to you. “In the past, people would use the Internet to get information, now they expect more. They want to share it and they want to access it on the go,” Johnson said. “We’ve already expanded our social media resources to accommodate this, and the app was simply the next logical step.” To find Mobile MWR, search the Apple App Store for key words “Army MWR.” v


Soldiers • June 2010


Shandi Dix

Col. Pat Rose, commander of the 22nd Mission Support Group, McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, Kan., left, talks with members of Fort Riley’s flag football team, Oct. 16, 2010, at the Warrior Zone following the Army vs. Air Force flag football game at Sacco Softball Complex, Fort Riley, Kan.

Story by Tim Hipps


Innovative recreation opportunities for Soldiers

ARRIOR Zones offer hightech recreation opportunities for Soldiers who want to get out of their barracks rooms but stay on their installations. While computer gaming is the main attraction at these recreation centers, run by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, troops also gather to watch sporting events on large, highdefinition, flat-screen TVs, while eating, gaming and mingling. But all this can come at a high cost. Recognizing the value of these facilities, and with a cost-conscience business model in mind, Europe Region officials improvised by standing up interim facilities and renovating existing buildings. Through a bulk-buy acquisition process, they purchased the TVs, gaming systems, home theater units, computers and furniture to standardize Warrior Zones throughout the region. As time and funds permit, FMWRC will continue to build

new structures, and the existing equipment and furnishings will be moved to the completed facilities. “The Warrior Zone is kind of like a recreation center gone high-tech,” said Kris D’Alessandro, director of MWR at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. D’Alessandro helped develop the concept while working at FMWRC headquarters. “The main focus is all the technology. The concept is for the gaming to be the main purpose.” Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet access alone is enough to get traffic headed to the technology-driven activities centers. Toss in a few video arcades with console, handheld, online, personal computer and audio games, and Warrior Zones can get busy in a hurry. Warrior Zone success came most quickly in Europe, where 13 vacant buildings were retrofitted to house high-tech recreations centers. “Some used old rec centers and some used old clubs,” D’Alessandro said. “The basic needs are the computers, the gaming computers, the theater, the email computers (the building should be Wi-Fi), sports lounge—complete with flat-screen TVs for viewing sports—and a bar that serves draft beer and wine. “Some of them might have a Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers office, an area outside for a picnic pavilion, billiards, table tennis and air hockey— if they have the room. But the big things are the gaming, the computers and the theater—all the technology stuff.” The original guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense called for the creation of a “servicemember techno-activity center,” which quickly evolved into the Warrior Zone on the Army side of the house, thanks in part to FMWRC Commander Maj. Gen. Reuben D. Jones, who coined the name. Army installations have Warrior Zones in Ansbach, Bamberg, Baumholder, Grafenwoehr, Heidelberg, Hohenfels, Kaiserslautern, Mannheim, Schweinfurt and Wiesbaden, Germany, and two in Italy at Livorno and Vicenza.

Camp Zama, Japan, has a Warrior Zone, and there are three in Alaska— on Forts Greeley, Richardson and Wainwright. In the continental United States, using empty buildings poses a challenge, as there just aren’t as many available as found overseas. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., and Fort Riley, Kan., are both building Warrior Zones—half of which are being retrofitted. Three more Warrior Zones are planned for Fort Hood, Texas, with others coming soon to Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Sill, Okla. “It’s a different situation in Europe, where they could leave post but there’s nothing like it off post,” D’Alessandro said. “Here, they could leave post and go to similar places, but they also might have these things at home. “But Europe did jump on the bandwagon to establish Warrior Zones really quickly, so it is kind of a feather in their cap and they should be commended for that.” From action, adventure and role-playing to simulation, sports and tournament game strategy, Warrior Zones offer state-of-the-art platforms, such as Xbox, PlayStation and Wii, for gaming aficionados. Some of the games include: “Call of Duty,” “Army of Two,” “World of Warcraft,” “America’s Army” and “Street Fighter.” “This is keeping up with the 18-to25 age-group of the computer age, of everything that they’ve been growing up on, because that’s the thing they mostly are interested in,” D’Alessandro said. Warrior Zones usually feature audio and lighting for entertainment and sporting events, along with meeting spaces for social activities. Traditional games such as billiards, chess, darts, poker, table tennis and air hockey are also available if space allows. Keeping everything under one roof and within walking distance of the barracks has also proved important in attracting customers and their guests. “To have all that located in one facility is really special,” D’Alessandro said. “After talking with the folks at Forts Lewis and Riley, Soldiers love the Warrior Zone. It’s standing-room-only

some nights—they’re really packed with Soldiers—so you can see there was a need for it.” v

(Above photos) Soldiers enjoy food, drinks and conversation at the Warrior Zone.

Sieg Heppner During the grand opening of the new Warrior Zone on Coleman Barracks in Mannheim, Germany, Sept. 28, 2010, community members enjoy amenities that include pool tables, large-screen TVs, video games, a mini movie theater and full food and beverage services.

Soldiers • June 2011 47
Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta
Giunta served in Company B, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment. On Oct. 25, 2007, he was serving in Afghanistan as a rifle team leader when he engaged the enemy to recover a wounded Soldier they were trying to take prisoner. After throwing hand grenades, Giunta moved forward without hesitation into enemy fire to rescue his wounded comrade and assisted in keeping him alive before the Soldier eventually succumbed to his wounds. Giunta’s unwavering courage, in the midst of an ambush in which two American paratroopers gave their lives and several more were wounded, embodies the highest ideals of the Army Values. It is for this event that Giunta received the Medal of Honor from the president during a White House ceremony, Nov. 16, 2010.

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