NORFOLK, Va. -- Navy Expeditionary Combat Command hosted its fourth annual Family Readiness Symposium at Westin Town Center Virginia Beach, Va., Sept. 27 and 28.
Nearly 250 family readiness officers, ombudsmen, Family Readiness Program leaders and command representatives attended the event.
This year’s symposium focused on improving family readiness and developing a combat ready manual to be used as a guide for family readiness.
Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson, commander of NECC, said the symposium started four years ago as a process driven by family members, and has evolved into a way to help family members prepare for the stress and events that could happen to an expeditionary sailor while deployed.
Tillotson said a lot of the stresses are new to most of our expeditionary sailors who come into NECC. Most of our Sailors come from the fleet and at NECC they are faced with a different type of environment.
“It’s a little bit tougher to communicate to a family member when you’re deployed on a forward deployed operating base somewhere in Afghanistan, Philippines, Ethiopia or Antarctica,” said Tillotson. “It’s a different experience than being in the fleet and what their families are use too.”
The two-day symposium featured keynote speakers Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West, and Ms. Diana G. Tabler, professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Topics included effective communications, roles of personnel, warrior transition, individual augmentees, family support, social networking, crisis management, trauma, support for mental health, total force fitness, and resources for families. West and Tabler both offered continued support and encouragement for family readiness.
“I think we have absolutely outstanding programs in our military and our Navy and within NECC,” said West. “You guys are doing right.” West also stressed the importance of communication.
“Communication is vitally important to what we do, how we operate forward as a nation, and as a Navy, and to our families through different media and social media,” said West.
Tabler said the quality of life for military families is essential to readiness. “Military families are the most incredible people I have ever met, they are resilient and strong,” said Tabler.
Tabler said what the attendees have learned will make a difference not only in their own commands but to all military families.
“It was wonderful to see the high attendance of our NECC command leaders,” said Jo Carter Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center family readiness team. “They have shown a positive step in providing our expeditionary families with the tools and resources, reinforcing my commitment to fostering resilient, knowledgeable, and strong Navy families.”
Throughout the symposium attendees participated in feedback discussions. From those discussions all of the best ideas and policies will be implemented into the NECC combat ready manual.