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RCT-7 families ready for deployment

30 Jul 2009 | Lance Cpl. Benjamin Crilly 1st Marine Division

Combat readiness starts with family readiness.

In order to become family ready, Marines and sailors with Headquarters Company, 7th Marine Regiment, participated in the Deployment Resource Fair and Family Day, July 24.

The event, held at the Base Community Center for the headquarters staff for Regimental Combat Team 7, combined food, fun and family time with information for families to
prepare themselves for the RCT’s upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

“The Marine can’t do his job well if he is worried about his family,” said Col. Randy P. Newman, the commanding officer of 7th Marine Regiment and RCT-7.

Individuals from organizations such as the Red Cross, TRICARE, and Marine Corps Community Services’ Family Advocacy department provided predeployment support for the families of Marines and sailors.

The event was designed to meet each family on their level and provide them with the resources that apply to their individual needs.

“This gives them a venue to get the information they need and ask the subject matter experts,” said Denise M. Cullum, the family readiness officer for 7th Marine Regiment.

The event gave spouses an opportunity to seek support from other spouses and lay the foundation they will rely on throughout the training and deployment.

“If I were to go home, my mom wouldn’t understand what I am going through, but the other wives would, because they are going through the same thing,” said Maria D. Cruz, 23, wife of Sgt. Marvin A. Cruz, a field wireman with Headquarters Co., 7th Marine Regiment, from Los Angeles.

The event was not just for the families, but also the Marines who are training to deploy under the regimental combat team.

“This family day will keep (my wife) informed and give her a peace of mind,” said Lance Cpl. Matt S. Ogden, an administrative clerk with 7th Marine Regiment, from South Bend, Ind. “Her being informed will help me be better at my job, because I won’t have to worry about what is going on here as much while I am overseas.”

The family readiness day was exclusively for the Marines and sailors of the headquarters staff of RCT-7, which has recently increased two-fold.

“This family day allows me to meet my Marines’ families and answer any questions prior to the field training evolution,” said Sgt. Shammis T. Hannon, 25, a radio operator, from Providence, R.I. “It’s important to me, because if you don’t have rapport with your Marines’ families, then you really don’t have anything.”

The headquarters staff of RCT-7 will participate in a two-week field training exercise to integrate the new staff and prepare to deploy as an RCT staff.

The upcoming predeployment training will give the Marines and sailors of the headquarters staff for RCT-7 the information they need to be successful in combat situations. The family day helps them take the steps necessary to ensure their
families are taken care of while they prepare to deploy.

“Those two events occur simultaneously because the family needs to be getting ready while the Marines are getting ready,” said Newman, from Economy, Ind. “If we start today with a level of understanding, and we leave the day with that increased level of understanding of what (Marines and sailors) need to do within their family, then we’re winning.”

1st Marine Division