News: Family readiness officer finds joy in helping others
Story by Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - In 2008, the Marine Corps sent out a call for help. It was looking for qualified civilians to act as family readiness officers, or liaisons between servicemembers’ families and their commands.
Before the Marine Corps requested FROs to be civilians, the job was filled by a senior enlisted Marine. The Marine Corps made the change so FROs would be more relatable to all military family members.
Pamela S. Jude, a Corry, Penn., native who has been married to a Marine for more than 17 years, competed against more than 10,000 other applicant’s for a FRO’s position here in 2008. She highlights this as one of the greatest challenges of her life.
“It was pretty stressful and intense,” said Jude. “[It was] probably the most intense hiring process I had been through in my lifetime. When I [was] interviewed for this job, I was so passionate about becoming a family readiness officer because it was my dream job.”
Jude, who currently serves as the FRO for Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, attributes her success at the job to the dedication she has to servicemembers and their families.
On most days, Jude responds to emails and phone calls from the regiment’s families, interacts with the members of the unit and checks with the command to see if there are any issues she should watch out for.
During deployments, however, her days can become more intense.
“Being a FRO in an MLG with a unit deployed is a lot different from being in a division or air wing, because [MLG units] don’t deploy as a whole,” said Jude. “We are cross-pollinated and we don’t just have our own units and our own people. We take care of our normal group and the people who have been added to that deployment. Now, we have to build a rapport with new families.”
The added complicated nature of logistical deployments lets the FROs from different units help each other and that teamwork builds more bonds between families and creates a larger support network.
“A [FRO] should be someone who understands the military lifestyle and is compelled and passionate about wanting to help others succeed,” Jude said. “The military is a huge sacrifice for the servicemembers and their families. [The families] serve right alongside their Marine or sailor, maybe not by carrying a weapon, but by holding up everything back home.”
Prior to becoming a FRO, Jude and her husband brought Marines into their house, said Jude. She also tried to help young spouses adjust to the military lifestyle and offered any support she could. Her almost constant care helped prepare her for her role as a FRO.
“I feel like I have more than 200 children now because I’m very close to all of the Marines and sailors in our unit,” said Jude. “Being a military spouse, mother and professional family readiness officer tie into one. When we’re sending those Marines off, it’s kind of hard to see them and comfort the families, but the greatest reward is when they get off that bus when they return home.”
Jude enjoys attending the regiment’s homecomings, where she is able to watch servicemembers reunite with family members, meet children for the first time and even propose to sweethearts, she said.
“My ultimate goal is to help my Marines and sailors become as successful as they can and build strong, independent families,” said Jude. “Once I see [the families] accomplish that, I know that my job is successful. This is probably the most rewarding job I’ve ever had aside from being a mom.”