News: Pre-deployment brief brings I MEF families together
Story by Lance Cpl. Joshua Young
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - The I Marine Expeditionary Force Family Readiness Office hosted a town hall meeting for families of deploying Marines and sailors at the base theater, Oct. 25.
I MEF command element and I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group will replace Camp Lejeune’s II MEF in southern Afghanistan early next year.
The brief was held to keep families informed and to aid in the preparation of their loved one’s deployment.
Maj. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus, the commanding general of I MEF (FWD), began the brief with an explanation of the mission, expectation of his Marines and sailors and the importance of family support before, during and after the deployment.
“This train is moving and it’s moving pretty quickly now,” Gurganus said. “Now is the time to start preparing for deployment and the time to start thinking about the legal and administrative pieces that you need to be sure are in order.”
Gurganus said this was the first brief for this deployment and I MEF families can expect more before the end of the year. The briefs will give them information needed to be adequately prepared for any situation.
“As we get closer and closer, it’s critically important to us that we tell you what is going on so that you know as much as we can possibly tell you,” Gurganus said. “I want you to be as comfortable as you can be with us leaving.”
The family readiness office also covered legal advice which included information regarding powers of attorney, wills and financial support. Families were informed of the multitude of resources available to support them while their loves ones are deployed.
Cpl. Victor J. Rivera, a consolidated memorandum receipt clerk with I MHG, said the brief helped his family understand the importance of preparedness.
“It shows families that they need to prepare financially in case any emergencies were to happen,” said Rivera, 23, from San Diego.
“It’s going to be hard between myself and my wife, but all the opportunities that the Marine Corps gives us are pretty good.”
Families who have never been through a deployment were informed of opportunities to help prep them for their loved one’s departure and resources to aid them such as the I MEF Family Readiness Office, volunteers, weekly emails and unit-sponsored events.
“It was very informative for people who have never been through a deployment,” said Tenci J. Rivera, whose husband is deploying with I MEF (FWD). “It covered everything, and it was easy to understand.”
Marines, sailors and families took the opportunity to introduce themselves and to start the support system for those staying behind.
“Lean on each other and help everyone be strong,” Gurganus said. “It isn’t all about you, it’s about every one of us. I expect the same things out of the families as I do the Marines; take care of each other.”
“Maj. Gen. Gurganus gave us the opportunity to speak to his wife and his family, and that was pretty cool,” Rivera said. “That gives my wife something to lean on when I’m forward.”
Following each speaker at the brief, the floor was opened to anyone in attendance who had questions or needed more clarification.
“I was glad that I went to the brief,” Rivera said. “It was very specific. It covered the mission criteria and what to expect, and I got a lot out of it.”
During the deployment the I MEF Family Readiness Office and volunteer staff will provide the families at home with opportunities to keep in touch with each other through support groups and activities.