Deployments have a great impact on not only our soldiers and airmen; they have an even greater impact on their families and loved-ones. They’re the ones who feel the impact here at home. They must carry out their traditional role, as well as the role of the soldier or airmen during a deployment. This will play a major part in whether or not soldiers and airmen decide to remain in the National Guard upon their return. I truly believe that soldiers enlist, but the family re-enlists.
In response to the increasing number and duration of deployments in recent months. . . and in anticipation of yet additional mobilization activity, we have established Family Assistance Centers (FAC) and Family Readiness Centers throughout the state. These centers are located in our armories and on our air bases in Cape May Courthouse, Egg Harbor Township, Fort Dix, Lawrenceville, McGuire AFB, Morristown, Teaneck and Toms River. We will be opening additional centers in Somerset and Woodbury in the near future. In response to the needs of the family, Family Readiness Groups (FRG) will operate out of each of armory to provide an extensive network of Family Assistance/Family Support throughout every part of the state. Our goal is to make separation during deployment as stress-free as possible.
In order to simply life, we have established a toll-free number that will link families and loved-ones to the FAC nearest to them.
The support from the local communities and private organizations has been heart-warming. The mayors throughout the Garden State have taken a sincere interest in helping the families in their communities whose loved-ones have been deployed. We have briefed them on the impact deployment has on families of deployed soldiers and airmen. The League of Municipalities, which represents the 566 municipalities across the state, is actively involved in events at our armories. Members and leaders from many of the veterans’ organizations have come forward to support our centers and families. They are actively seeking donations and are volunteering at our centers. Local businesses continue to provide donations. These same individuals and groups have come together to form a council to work with the FRGs and assist families. I look forward to the tremendous support they are committed to providing.
As we continue to prepare our soldiers and airmen for new missions, I also look forward to the safe return of those who have served over the past year. They’ve done their part and have earned the collective thanks, appreciation and gratitude of a grateful nation. I will pray for the safe return of each and every National Guardsmen we deploy in support of the global war on terrorism.