Reserve Component Units Recognized for Superb Family Support
(February 18, 2009)
Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Keough Cofield, left, family program liaison, and
Chevonne Baxter, family program assistant, both with the 3rd Brigade, 98th
Division, 108th Training Command based at Lexington, Ky., pose with their unit's
2008 Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Award at the Pentagon, Feb.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2009
Seven National Guard and reserve
units received recognition for their support of families of deployed troops at a
Pentagon ceremony today.
Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, hosted the
annual Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Awards presentation, which
highlighted the best National Guard and reserve unit family readiness support
programs in 2008.
The awardees constitute “a mirror image of all of those units throughout our
country” that labor to assist the families of deployed National Guard members
and reservists, Hall said.
Each recognized unit received an engraved wood Defense Department plaque and a
certificate signed by Hall. Award recipients also received a certificate and
$1,000 from the Military Officers Association of America.
The military's aircraft, ships, tanks and other equipment have little value
without the servicemembers who operate and maintain them, Hall pointed out.
“People are the key, and always have been the key, and that's what this ceremony
today is about,” Hall said. That's why, he added, it's important to support the
families of deployed soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members
who perform vital wartime missions. |
Having deployed to Iraq in 2003, Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Keough Cofield knows
what it's like to serve in a war zone. Today, Cofield is a family program
liaison with the 3rd Brigade, 98th Division, 108th Training Command, based at
Lexington, Ky. The 108th was among the awardees at today's Pentagon ceremony.
“It's definitely an honor to win this [award],” Cofield said, noting that his
unit established an informational Web site for families of deployed
“Families can go online and click on a link and find all of the resources that
are available to them,” Cofield said, such as the USO and the Red Cross.
When he was in Iraq, Cofield recalled being comforted by the thought that there
were family support personnel ready to assist his family.
“Knowing that there were individuals back home taking care of my family put my
mind at ease and let me focus on the mission at hand,” he said.
Cofield's family support assistant, Chevonne Baxter, echoed his comments.
“Helping families is very important, because they are the soldier's support
system,” she said. “If family isn't taken care of, the soldier will worry.
“We're going to make sure that the families are taken care of in support of that
soldier,” she said.
The 108th's family support program operates a monthly family newsletter, Baxter
said, and families of deployed servicemembers are frequently contacted via
e-mail “to see if everything is running smoothly.”
Other units recognized at the ceremony include:
Army National Guard: 263d
Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Anderson, S.C.
Navy Reserve: Naval Mobile
Construction Battalion 24, Huntsville, Ala.
Marine Corps Reserve: 6th
Engineer Support Battalion, Portland, Ore.
Air National Guard: 153d
Airlift Wing, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Air Force Reserve: 439th
Airlift Wing, Springfield, Mass.
- Coast Guard Reserve: Port Security Unit 309, Port Clinton, Ohio.
The department's Reserve Family Readiness Awards program was established in
2000. Robust family support programs are important and vital to mission success,
officials said, as significant numbers of servicemembers have deployed overseas
in support of the global war on terrorism.
Article and photo by Gerry J.
American Forces Press Service
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