MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Amidst the Global War on Terrorism, deployments are common, Marines have to deal with family separation issues more often, and the well being of the family is a significant concern to unit leaders. With this concern in mind, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command recently hired a new family readiness officer to help MARSOC Marines cope with
family-readiness issues and keep their focus on mission accomplishment
Retired Gunnery Sergeant Kurtis Sampson’s mission is to build and sustain a network of people families can count on when in need. One way to do this is with family events that strengthen the bond between unit and family. The most recent example of this was the Marine Special Operations Support Group’s Beach Bash at Onslow Beach here, Aug. 22.
“My daughter loves the beach,” said Cpl. O’Ryan S. Hupp, a Radio Operator with MARSOC G-6. “My wife mentioned this event and I came out here for my daughter. These events are great for new people.”
“Marines work hard,” said Col. Mark T. Aycock, commanding officer, MSOSG, who attended the Beach Bash. “This is one way of getting them out of work and with their families in a relaxed social setting.”
Sampson understands how events like the Beach Bash can help build and maintain family readiness and as MARSOC’s operational tempo continues to increase, he is trying to make sure families are along for the ride.
MSOSG Deputy Family Readiness Officer, 1st Lt. Robert E. Spalla, organized the Beach Bash and was pleased with how it turned out.
“The information flow in the Marine Corps is changing and families need to feel connected and safe when they have problems,” explained Sampson. “Whether it is finances or abuse, they have a place to go and we establish that rapport. Lieutenant Spalla did a great thing with the Beach Bash.”
Sampson served with reconnaissance and special operations units as a logistics chief for more than six years before he retired at the end of July. When he took over as the MARSOC FRO, he looked at how the other services in U.S. Special Operations Command direct their Family Readiness.
“I wanted to make sure I knew how MARSOC fit into the SOCOM structure,” said Sampson. “Then, I learned more about the Marine Corps'family readiness structure here.”
According to Sampson, combat readiness is a three part goal: equipment readiness, training and preparation of Marines who deploy, and safety and stability for families.
Sampson said it’s important to know that family readiness is a responsibility for each individual Marine and the unit FROs are here to work with them. Maintaining stability at home, before and during deployments, helps overall mission accomplishment.
Sampson and Family Readiness Officers in MARSOC and other units throughout the Corps can help spouses and parents of Marines understand the importance of what their loved one is doing. They can also provide a wealth of Family Support resources available through official programs, websites, and telephone hotlines. But the best way to help families is to build friendships and support networks in fun ways before problems come up.
Aycock says FRO-organized events like the MSOSG Beach Bash show Marines and Sailors in the unit how much they are valued. He hopes to have similar events every three months.
“That’s why we do it,” explained Aycock, as he pointed toward the children splashing and laughing at the dunking booth. “Children are why I wear the uniform. I hope what I’m doing ensures they don’t have to live in a dangerous world.”