Opinions please.....US Service question

#1
Gents,

I am a UK Maj living on a post in the US, my wife has asked me to raise an issue that affects her and many of the other spouses on post with the Post commander, a Col.

I am posting an edited version of my first draft please excuse spelling and grmamar mistakes. What I would be grateful for is guidance on the tone and appropriatness of this letter...

The dept in question is Family Advocacy, I tried to hide the unit name and location for obvious reasons.

Thanks

LOSE OF A BESPOKE FAMILY ADVOCATE ON FORT *****



I would like to firstly thank you and the wider Fort ***** military community for your ongoing support that you have offered my family and I. The experience of being a Foreign Military Officer living on this post has been wonderful. I can’t truly express in words what an honor it has been to have this opportunity. I have been surprised by the sense of community and neighborhood good will that permeates Fort *****.

I writing on behalf my wife, and no doubt indirectly for many of the other active duty spouses who live on post, about the loss of *name*, *appointment*. I am unsighted of the issues surrounding the decision to terminate her services, and do not wish to comment on this decision per say. I raise this issue only because the alternative provision proposed by *dept*, is unlikely to be as effective as the provision of a bespoke individual who provided the *appointment* services.

As active duty service people, you and I understand that our duties are unique and not comparable with other jobs or professions. Whilst we may have volunteered our service to our countries, our spouse experience and endue the many of the trails and tribulations that military service brings, without necessarily being a volunteer themselves. I recognize that the Department of Defense makes considerable efforts to ensure that our duty is rewarded with consummate rewards and support, including the provision of *appointment*.

The role of the *appointment* is somewhat unique as well. The ability to provide these services depends to a large extent to trust and the relationship that has developed by them and their customers, active duty or otherwise. This need for trust exists on several levels and can not easily be established, whereas it is reasonable to suggest the services can be provided any suitably qualified individual.

I believe a key part of the role of the *appointment* is the early identification and intervention before either the situation deteriorates, potential requiring the chain of command to intervene. The ‘value added’ services such as the Wednesday and Friday playgroups as well as the involvement of the *appointment* in many community actives, not only allow greater outreach but also garners the trust that I alluded to previously.

I fear the short-term financial drive to effectively ‘contractorize’ this appointment will not only weaken the community cohesiveness, a very difficult quality to measure but may also indirectly lead to more quantifiable costs, by affecting retention – as a result of increased pressure from spouses to encourage the active-duty member not to re-enlist again. Perhaps worse the financial costs of either a divorce, domestic violence, or a parenting failure that is not addressed until either chain of command or law enforcement intervention is required.

I am not saying that *appointment* can alone prevent these tragic events. However, having watched the decline in service ethos and corporate identity within may own military, I fear that these short-term financial decisions cumulatively lead to the erosion of trust and what ultimately could be described as a breach of our military covenant .

I recognize that spouses who feel that this support is longer available from *dept* can seek service either from the State of ***** or from a church or other organizations, what they may not receive is a true understanding of the uniqueness of their situation, what other employer, separates families for up to 15 months? It unlikely within a military community that a spouse would feel comfortable raising their private/personal problems with their spouse’s chain of command or potentially one of the uniformed Padres.

Ultimately, a bespoke individual outside the post’s military establishment needs to be there to support the post’s families, as without them the ‘power of one' is weakened. I fear with the loss of *appointment* is shortsighted and unlikely to be cost effective in the long run. I would encourage you, if it is within your the ability to bring your influence to bear and ask *dept* to review their decision. If not I would be grateful if you would address the concerns raised in this letter at the next Town Hall meeting and finally closely watch how well *dept* provides these services over the coming year.

In closing I would like to reiterate my thanks to you and the whole Fort *name* military community. I hope that you accept this letter as a personal perspective from an outsider, who has been invited into your community. I am unsighted of US Military protocols regarding such matters and hope that you accept my sincere apologies if I have transgressed my authority or position. Living on the post has brought home the fact the United States and the United Kingdom are engaged in two complex military operations, and that some of our success depends on maintaining a cohesive will to fight at home, not just with the general population but especially with the families of our active-duty servicemen and women. Thank you again and please do not hesitate to contact me if you wish discuss any of the issues raised in this letter.
 
#2
I'd like to be able to offer comment, but I have to say I really am not entirely sure what this is on about: As a reservist, we have different support channels to the Regular Army.

I mean, it seems to be well written, though I'm not so sure that most US soldiers know what you mean when you talk about the military covenant. It seems to be a concept far more cemented into the British soldier's frame of reference than that of the US. However, since you're addressing to a colonel, I might be giving him less credit than he deserves.

If you are roled as, say, the 2IC of the Armor School, (That's a billet held by a British Major in Ft Knox, if memory serves) I would not be worried about any transgressions of authority/position. This is the sort of thing which is certainly in the lane of the holder of that position.

NTM
 
#4
CT,

Thanks for your opinions, the individual is effectively the family advocate...she runs the base playgroup and provides parnting lessons, things like how to use Time Outs, Potty Trg but her main role is intervention to support parents who are struggling. She is/was employed by the Army Community Service and they are proposing using interns to provide the roles that she was providing.

There was a recent case where a child (4yo) went AWOL to a neighbors house without telling the Mum. (The husband is deployed). Initailly the Family Advocate was involved as effectively the Welfare Officer, staying with the Mum whilst the child was missing. Then after the child was located and returned, either the CoC or LE advised that the Mum should recieve some bespoke parenting lessons. One issue that did not exist a few years ago is that the housing is becoming mixed, on my road ranks range from E4 to O6, this weakens the neighbor support network and reduces the chances of indirect interventions by neighbors..
 
#6
Pet peeve of mine, but what is all the Americanised spelling in aid of?

As for as I am aware, the language is still known as English and I am sure the Colonel will have no difficulty understanding it when spelt correctly.
 
#7
It's a first draft posted for content check, not spelling check, as stated - Everyone, even Majors, are allowed to make mistakes in grammar and spelling in drafts.
 
#8
Ottar, interesting observation, I am debated whether to use UK English or US English. I decided that US English was the way ahead. I am requesting support from a senior officer on their patch.

Had I been in Germany and this letter was to a German CO, and assuming my German was good enough I would most certainly write in German. The US is a Foreign country, it has a different culture and history to us, I am a guest, and therefore I act accordingly.

Goon, thanks for your comments, it was a first draft, which literally was written and posted just before I hit the sack last night.
 
#10
Yes at least two that I am aware of, both spouses of active duty personnel.

Without wishing to be seen as disrepectful, the majority the customers are enlisted families. One was told by the Post Comd that it was not relevant for discussion at the town hall meeting. There is a degree of fatalism/powerlessness amongst the wives, mine included. Although three of them are talking about organising their own support network/play group etc...
 
#11
escape_to_the_USA said:
Ottar, interesting observation, I am debated whether to use UK English or US English. I decided that US English was the way ahead. I am requesting support from a senior officer on their patch.

Had I been in Germany and this letter was to a German CO, and assuming my German was good enough I would most certainly write in German. The US is a Foreign country, it has a different culture and history to us, I am a guest, and therefore I act accordingly.

Goon, thanks for your comments, it was a first draft, which literally was written and posted just before I hit the sack last night.
Serving across the pond as well and the simple fact is that you have to use US English to get your point across. If you do not, then every 'theatre' grates with your US COC and you risk losing your credibility.

Have had a real issue with use of 'whislt' and 'bespoke' however.

Escape,

Good letter

AY
 
#12
Based on my experience in the US military, for what it's worth - Go ahead and voice your opinion. If it's done well, it's appreciated.

Additionally, things put in writing are MUCH harder to ignore than those just voiced in a phone call or in person.

Good luck!
 
#13
I think its just fine (I'm a yank cadet, not serving, but I have an idea of what works). If it fails, then its because the person who receives it is a pr1ck
 
#14
IMHO, since you are an Officer from the UK, the use of typical 'Brit' terms should be expected. I don't think this American COL, wouldn't expect anything different from a Major in the Brit armed forces, especially in a written communication.

As someone, pointed out here it is ENGLISH and I doubt that the COL would have any real difficuly, with understanding a few words that Americans don't normally use and Brits do.

After all you do use those types of terms in your everday conversations, don't you?

I might also note, while I'm at it that sometimes in the American military, the wives themselves handle these types of things, as they are usually pretty well organized on some of our military installions especaiily on issues with their children.

It's surprising how a few words from a few officer's wives, to say this COL's wife can accomplish. ;)
 
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