*I’m putting the disclaimer here at the beginning so everyone sees it. I have been running ragged the past several weeks with change of command, a redeploying unit, taking care of a friend’s house, and a host of other stuff you probably don’t want to hear about. If I seem a bit more abrupt and less funny this month, that’s probably it. Or it could be the lack of sleep.*
A few days ago, I saw the question put up on the AWN Facebook page about controlling FRG leaders and how to deal with them. I had just come out of a ‘political firefight’ about a photo my uncle had put up, so I was on a self-imposed “DO NOT COMMENT” sabbatical from Facebook. But it got me to thinking, and when I get to thinking, I get to writing.
First, some simple truths. Number one- Every FRG is different. There will be big ones and small ones. There will be ones that are all about the fundraising and ones that are more ‘meh’. Number two- The FRG is mandated by the Army. Seriously. Every unit is supposed to have one. Number three- The FRG leader is not the commander of the FRG. It is the Company Commander’s program.
At this moment in time, I am the FRG leader for a detachment here at Fort Benning and a platoon whose ‘parent company’ is at Fort Knox. I’m also the treasurer, the secretary, and the key caller. For the better part of last year, both the detachment and the platoon have been deployed, so I have also fielded calls from spouses and family members all over the country who are wondering about their soldier. I’ve been the marriage counselor, the psychiatrist, the babysitter, the house-sitter, the fish feeder, the hostess, and the fundraiser.
And I love doing this. I love helping people. It is frustrating at times when absolutely no one from the rear detachment shows up for our FRG meetings. It is even crappier when only one other spouse shows up for our meetings! (This has actually happened before. If we wouldn’t have had our kids with us, we would have just hit the bar.) It is SUPER irritating when you pour your heart and soul into a fundraiser for your deployed soldiers only to find out that your rear detachment commander filled out the paperwork giving herself control of the funds. Angry emoticon does not even express enough anger.
But I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It breaks my heart when people don’t even give the FRG a chance. Obviously every single one has its problems. And yes, there are ones that are filled with drama. That is when the Commander or the First Sergeant needs to step in and put the hammer down. But the FRG that you were in at Fort Bragg is completely different than the one here at Fort Benning. Give it a shot. Your FRG leader needs help. She (or he) needs GOOD people to volunteer. Nothing can change unless people want it to. Backseat driving won’t help. Give your FRG leader a call. Or, if nothing else, make sure that your email address is right on your contact form. My inbox is full of ‘unable to deliver’ emails.