Brooklyn Reserve Marines keep families informed
By Capt. Julianne H. Sohn
| | October 24, 2005
NEW YORK, N.Y. --
The Reserve Marines here have readily answered the call to serve their country during these uncertain times, but these men and women cannot do this without the support of their families.
The 6th Communication Battalion headquartered in Brooklyn recently held their annual Family Day to thank these families, build camaraderie and provide useful benefits information, said Staff Sgt. Carlos Weckmann, the event coordinator.
Representatives from Tricare, which is the military healthcare provider, the Key Volunteer Network, a support group for family members, and Marine Corps Community Services One Source, which is a program designed to provide information to Marines and their families, came to answer questions about benefits and to present information to about 700 people.
“I think that having them there helped family members realize that we care about not only our Marines, but their families as well,” said Weckmann.
In addition to the presentations, the day included a barbeque, a raffle and children’s entertainment like camouflage face painting and an inflatable ride. Marines and their families also participated in games like relay races and a basketball tournament.
“The families were given a welcome back brief on things to watch out for because their Marines were coming back from a stressful environment,” said Lt. Col. Charles McCobb, Inspector Instructor, 6th Comm. Bn. “It was to provide a static display to let the families know what the Marines did while they are deployed. It also put them in contact with the Key Volunteer Network.”
The Key Volunteer Network is made up of family members, who provide support and information to each other to assist the Marine families.
“Before deployments, there is a higher level of information provided to families, which consists of unclassified briefs on where their family members are going, how to maintain contact and prepares them to deal with deployment,” said Sergeant Maj. Anthony Jerkins of the 6th Comm. Bn. Inspector Instructor staff.
The unit made sure that the families had access as much information as possible. The families are given information on the Uniform Services Employment and Re-employment Act (USERA), which provides legal protection for their Marines.
During the event, Lt. Col. Anthony M. Lombardo, 6th Comm. Bn. commanding officer, presented awards to the Key Volunteers for their participation in the Family Readiness Program.
The highlight of the festivities included the tug-of-war tournament between the Headquarters, Service, Support and Alpha companies. Service Company triumphed for a second year in a row and earned the Commanding Officer’s Trophy.
“The most important aspect of the Family Day is getting families involved so that they can get a view and appreciate the experiences that the Marines went through while deployed,” said McCobb. “It gives them a taste of what the Marines did while they were deployed and informs the families and Marines of the services available now that they have returned.”
Please contact your local Family Readiness officer for more information on the Key Volunteer Network. To find out more about MCCS One Source, please call 1-800-869-0278 or go to www.mccsonesource.com.