Family Readiness Program
Published October 24, 2008
The 130th Airlift Wing family readiness program began in 1990 with the onset of Desert Shield/Desert Storm. During Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the Family Support Group (as it was called then), provided social and informational activities for families, formed telephone trees for rapid communication, and worked with the unit to organize family briefings, as well as provided moral support to one another.
Since 1990, the 130th family program has undergone many changes in its structure and organization. Initially, Family Support included only civilian volunteers who were primarily family members. Today, the group has both a volunteer military and civilian point of contact representing each squadron or flight, written by-laws, and a full complement of officers.
Around the year 2000, there was a national move to change the name from family support to family readiness, reflecting a shift in focus for the program. This shift exhibited a more proactive stand--emphasizing family preparedness for possible separation due to mobilization, training, or schooling. Beginning in the year 2002, another tool to facilitate family preparedness was added when the Air Force approved and provided funding for the addition of a full-time person to work with family readiness at each Air National Guard Wing. The 130th Airlift Wing hired someone to fill this position in June 2002.
Some of the chief responsibilities of the Wing Family Readiness Coordinator are to educate and familiarize family members with their benefits and how to access them, provide information and referral to internal and external resources, produce and publish a quarterly newsletter, identify and address issues relevant to military families, maintain volunteer records for the Family Readiness Group, and provide volunteer recognition.
With the major deployments of 2003, an additional facet has been added to the family program with the formation of contact teams. The primary responsibility of each contact team leader is to be in touch, on a weekly basis, with a given number of families of deployed members. This weekly connection helps us to facilitate resolution of issues and questions from families, but more importantly, to demonstrate to our families that they are very important to us. Contact team leaders are primarily military members who may also have a civilian volunteer working with them. The group of contact team leaders is coordinated by two military members and the family readiness coordinator.