News: First deployment for ‘Vanguard’ family
Story by Staff Sgt. Elvis Umanzor
FORT STEWART, Ga. – In the last decade, many soldiers and their families have endured multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, gaining the experience to better prepare for long deployments. But for some like 1st Lt. Benjamin E. Posey, a platoon leader with Company A, 4-3 Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, and his wife, Kathryn E. Posey, preparing for deployment is a new experience.
First Lt. Posey, an ROTC graduate from the University of West Florida, and his wife, have been married for a little more than a year and are expecting their first child, a baby girl, in July.
As the Poseys face this new point in their lives, they encounter challenges and stress brought on by deployments.
“I think for me, the hardest part is not having Ben here with me,” said Kathryn, a Milton, Fla., native. “The other things tend to fall into place and everything eventually works…I have so many people that are willing to help, but not being with your husband, to me that's the toughest part.”
“The biggest stressor for me in this situation is the dual role of husband and soldier,” said 1st Lt. Posey, the Pace, Fla., native. “Bottom line, I know my wife will be OK because of family and our faith that makes up our support system, but we try to "what if" and plan for as many contingencies as much as possible.” He added, “I also have to make sure that all my soldiers’ affairs are in order so we can be focused on the mission while deployed.”
One way the Poseys prepared for the deployment was by attending one of the deployment fairs held by the Vanguard Brigade, where battalion commanders briefed families to answer questions they might have, and Army Community Services agencies set up stations to inform soldiers and their families of many programs available to them.
Kathryn said the information Lt. Col. Matthew D. McCollum, the commander of 4/3 BSTB, 4IBCT, provided for the families, such as deployment timelines, communication methods, and pre-deployment checklists was incredibly informative. “I was very grateful for having all the different agencies come together in one location to provide information to the families,” she said.
Although the Poseys haven’t had a specific need for services provided by Army Community Services at this time, Kathryn said, “When the time comes, we know what programs, classes, and services are available for us.”
“This process is a first for both of us, so the fair did help identify what needs to be taken care of prior and even during deployment,” said 1st Lt. Posey. He said the deployment fair brought up items they needed to have in order, such as a parental power of attorney for their daughter.
Kathryn stressed the importance of being patient during the pre-deployment time.
“It can get pretty crazy at times with getting everything prepared back home, your husband's training schedule picking up, last minute changes,” she said, “Time seems to fly through those last couple of months, so however much time you get to see each other, make the most out of it. The saying ‘quality time is better than quantity time’ really comes into play here.”
Her husband agreed and said there are many things that cannot be controlled such as flight times and dates and that it's very easy to get frustrated with the changes and the unknown. “Enjoy the little things with your significant other because that's what you are going to look back on when times are rough down range,” he said. “Do what you can to prepare ahead of time and if you don't know ask the question no matter how silly it may seem because if you are thinking it, then your spouse and soldiers may have the same questions.”
“I don’t know if you can ever be 100 percent prepared, but I’ve done all I can to make myself as prepared as possible,” Kathryn said. “I feel confident with the resources on the base.” Kathryn takes part in various unit programs like the Family Readiness Group’s care team training, where they help support spouses in emergency situations.
“Thankfully with the technology of today, it makes this separation seem less difficult,” said Kathryn. Her husband and she discussed how they stayed connected during their long distance dating using what they call Skype dates, where they rented the same movie and watched it together during dinner, while connected through Skype.
First Lt. Posey said he knew he would one day deploy, but it was a matter of when. Nineteen months after the Vanguard Brigade’s last deployment to Iraq, the couple prepares as 1st Lt. Posey has the opportunity to now lead his platoon into Afghanistan, while his wife takes care of their child and home, and waits for his safe return.