JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – According to Col. Jody Miller, who recently took command of 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, redeployment and reintegration go hand-in-hand.
“Reintegration [is] the much larger process that we are currently in,” Miller said.
For soldiers who recently redeployed with the unit from their nine-month tour to Afghanistan, reintegrating with their families, JBLM, their rear detachment element, and local communities is key, said Miller.
“I think the most important thing in the redeployment process is taking care of our soldiers,” he said.
Because of the associated risk with redeployment challenges and issues, every single soldier comes back from deployment a different person and that creates friction, in some cases, that has to be dealt with, Miller said.
In order to help soldiers and families with that part of the reintegration process, the military provides resources to help learn how to communicate well with each other, he said.
Military Family Life consultants, Family Advocacy specialists, Family Readiness Support Assistance members and chaplains, work together to provide a brigade’s worth of soldiers with the appropriate outlets, Miller added.
“Usually, soldiers return from deployment seeing things a little differently,” Miller said. “The family that was left behind has been operating for a good bit of time without them, so they changed the way the family dynamic operates … so it takes a little bit of communication and time to get reintegrated.”
Soldiers who are used to high-adrenaline activities, such as going out on a patrol and worrying about stepping on an improvised explosive device, become accustomed to that level of alertness and adrenaline flow, Miller explained.
“When you return to a home station environment and that’s not the case, soldiers, by design, then seek out those types of high-adrenaline activities and what the Army attempts to do is give them positive ways to do that through Warrior Adventure Quest,” said Miller.
Soldiers can choose to go white-water rafting, paintballing, and other exciting things to keep their blood flowing and strengthen the camaraderie built on deployment. It also helps forge new bonds with the soldiers who were serving on rear detachment.
Another aspect of redeployment is merging the property books of the brigade’s deployed element with the group who stayed on rear detachment and turning in any excess equipment.
As a part of the Campaign on Property Accountability, the leaders in the brigade will take everything each unit owns, inventory and bring to record all property, identify excess and then turn it in, Miller said.
“Add to that the fact that we’re inactivating, and we also have to start turning in all of our property at some point,” said Miller.
The brigade’s redeployment process ran smoothly according to Sgt. Maj. Daniel Adle, the brigade operations sergeant major.
“We took all the lessons learned from [2-2 SBCT and 3-2 SBCT] and we’ve learned from their after-action reviews,” Adle said. “We encourage crosstalk … it provides safe and efficient turn-in of resources and equipment.”
Even though the brigade is one of 10 active duty Army brigades in the United States slated to be inactivated, they will conduct “business as usual” said Adle.
“It can take about six months between actually leaving a combat zone and completing all necessary reintegration tasks,” said Adle.
“I’m just very honored and privileged to be given the opportunity to help the Raider team transition to its next objective,” Miller said. “I think that it will be an adventure for all of us, but when it’s all said and done, we’ll come out better for it on the other side.”