Now that you know what the FRG is, I bet you’re wondering how you join! Guess what? If your spouse or non-married child is in the military….. YOU ARE IN THE FRG! It’s that simple. Every unit in the military has an FRG, though some are more active than others.
When your loved one signs into his/her unit, one of the many forms they will be filling out will be an FRG contact form. On this form they will provide the name, address, phone number and email address of the person that they want included in the Family Readiness Group. 9 times out of 10, this is the next of kin. In the modern military and the era of the modern family, I’m seeing more and more fiances and live in significant others included on the list. How involved these non next of kin contacts are within the unit is typically at the discretion of the FRG advisor (more on them later this week).
The FRG leader maintains a roster of every soldier in the unit along with all his/her FRG contact information. At the company level, this has the potential to include 150 or more names! Ideally, as soon as the commander has new contact information it would be passed on the FRG leader. As an FRG leader myself, I can honestly tell you that this almost NEVER happens. My husband is the commander so I obviously have daily access to him… and it still doesn’t happen nearly as quickly as I would like. In a perfect world, I find out about the new members of the FRG weekly and I reach out to them within 48 hours. This is much easier said than done and many FRGs are not nearly as active or involved to commit to that type of time-table.
I’ve found over time that in the platoons, teams and squads within the company there is more likely to spring up friendships between current soldiers and newbies. So now I include in my weekly emails a little blurb along the lines of “if you know a new spouse who I haven’t contacted please pass along their information so that I can reach out to them as soon as possible.” In this way, I have skipped waiting to get updates from my husband and gone straight to the source.
Another way I learn about new spouses is through social media. We maintain a private Facebook group for members of our FRG. I highly suggest if you know the name of your soldier’s unit, you search for it on Facebook. At the very least you will find an open Facebook page that you can follow to find out general (non OPSEC violating) information about the unit and functions. Our Facebook group is private but searchable. New family members can request membership after answering 3 simple questions. When I get the requests I run them past my roster or my husband (if they aren’t on the roster). Once they have been approved I send them a private message welcoming them to the unit and asking them to email me their contact information so that I can update the roster.
If you are at a unit and don’t know how to contact your FRG… SPEAK UP!!! I don’t know a single FRG leader that doesn’t care about members! Ask your spouse or child for the FRG leaders contact information… at the very least their names!! You can find almost anyone on Facebook these days! If your spouse doesn’t know, ask another spouse in the unit!
You’ll be amazed by how much more connected you will feel to the military life once you feel included in the FRG! If you’re still not sure about the basic functions of the FRG, click here!