Some of the winning essays in the military spouse contest sponsored by www.YourMilitary.com on the occasion of Season 2 of Lifetime TV’s ARMY WIVES mentioned the FRG. And although I’d heard the term FRG on the show ARMY WIVES, I wasn’t clear exactly what that term meant. (It wasn’t a term I heard back when I was a Mrs. Lieutenant.) So I turned to someone in the know.
Thanks to Candace from An Army Wife's Life blog (www.mollypitcher.blogspot.com) for the explanation below:
An FRG is a "Family Readiness Group" (www.armyfrg.org). The army changed the name to reflect the idea that the army wanted group leaders to pass along official information and prepare spouses and families to be ready for the challenges of the military rather than to "support" them (i.e., do things for them).
It is basically a semi-formalized version of the support and information groups that have always existed to one extent or another.
Technically, it is the responsibility of the company commander (during deployment --Rear Detachment). However, in reality the FRG is usually run by volunteers. The volunteers are supposed to attend training sessions to be group leaders.
If the commander is married and his or her spouse is ready, willing, and able to run the FRG, it can be a real blessing -- passing along valuable official information, providing helpful programs, communicating about resources on post, and also giving families a social outlet (although that's not technically the function of the meetings).
Often today, however, the commander is not married or the spouse has no time or interest to run the FRG. Occasionally another spouse can be found who works well with the commander and everything still runs smoothly. However, in many units the FRG does not exist or is very dysfunctional.
Here are a post and accompanying comments from my blog that give an idea how the FRG is a source of frustration for a lot of spouses: http://tinyurl.com/6dqj7j.
Family readiness is both a unit and a military readiness issue because a prepared family minimizes the distractions on the soldier and encourages retention. As times change, the army is actively looking for ways to ensure that each unit has avenues for families to receive that support, whether it is through FRG volunteers, paid civilian staffers, or the chain of command.