Report from AUSA – Day one
First – AUSA = Association of the United States Army – This is the Annual Meeting, being held here in the Convention Center in DC. It is MASSIVE!! I haven’t seen this much “brass” (officers Lt. Col and above) in one place in a long time. There is also a HUGE Expo – and lots of “family” support folks. So I trolled the floor for an hour or so – and met some folks who KNOW there is a problem with including the Parents.
Then I went to a Bloggers Roundtable with Maj. General MacDonald – the commander of the Family Morale Welfare and Recreation Command, together with others. They are listening! One of the points brought up, was the fact that there are now Casualty Assistance officers for ALL family members. This means that even if the soldier is married, there is someone else there for the parents. A reporter from Army Times was in the group – she was telling me that early in the war, parents weren’t being notified, the Army thought the spouse would do it, there were instances of divorced parents being indescribably vicious to the “other” parent and not notifying him of the funeral arrangements~ this won’t happen – should I say shouldn’t happen- again. I mentioned the problems with Basic Training and parents being in the dark about what, where, how, graduation, etc. Since I’ve been told the Marine Corps does a splendid job, I told Gen MacDonald – he’s interested in doing the same for Army Parents – so there is hope!
On a much lighter note, Army One Source rolled out something call the vFRG – The Virtual FRG. The way this works – from how it was explained to me – the soldier needs to “register” his family members and that definitely includes parents, and siblings – with the person at the unit that is in charge of the vFRG. You would then be able to sign in, and connect with other family members in the unit. The unit has to request a site, and there are thousands that have done so. When I was at the Army One Source booth (and I’ll be back there today, believe me!) a rather bored Bird Colonel was defending the Army rather stridently when I told him our concerns, seems they have been hearing this – from our very own Some Soldier’s Mom!!! Thank you, SSM – they ARE hearing it!
I’ll report more tomorrow – I’ll be at the convention all day, and I’m going to let PZ Techmama tell you herself about meeting Mrs. (Gen) Gates and the conversation they had about ParentsZone!
Exciting times, folks. Exciting times.