Guard Family Network
Published July 29, 2008
The need for family support during times of deployment has always existed. Military families have accepted a great responsibility laced with personal sacrifice when they've chosen to support their loved ones in service to their country. "In no other profession is family separation faced so frequently as it is in the profession of military service." These separations can take many forms. Whether a short-term training exercise, military training course, a Unit deployment, or an individual hardship tour, the separation from family members often can create a stressful and sometimes traumatic situation for members of the family unit.
The stress of separation can disrupt normal family functioning and take its toll on a soldier's emotional, psychological, and physical readiness to do the job required of them. This breakdown of personal readiness is lessened when family members have the capacity to cope with stress and have access to supportive resources that help buffer them against the strain generated by separation.
The "Family Support Group" (FSG) is an organization of service members and family members that volunteer their time and talents to provide social and emotional support, outreach services, and information to family members prior to , during, and in the aftermath of family separations.
The Guard Family Network (GFN) is the local FSG for those Guard members and their families who serve in the Minnesota Air National Guard. Our goal is to ease the strain and help to alleviate some of the stress associated with military separation for both the family and the Guard member
For the Family Member: A Family Support Group offers helpful information and gives family members access to the people with answers when challenges arise. Many spouses have developed a more positive outlook on the Guard and the whole deployment process as a result of the support offered them by the Guard Family Network.
For the Guard Member: There is nothing more important to a deployed Guard member than knowing his or her family is taken care of. The Guard Family Network exists so deployed individuals can have that peace of mind. This can be a meaningful stabilizer for job performance within the unit and will enable soldiers to focus their attention on the mission.
For the Command: "A unit is only as strong as its weakest link." A Family Support Group affords greater confidence, commitment, and reliability within the team. The Guard Family Network takes a proactive role in helping to prevent potential problems within the family which can adversely effect job performance and unit strength levels through attrition.
For the Guard: A successful Family Support Group will stand alongside spouses, helping them to see how important their support and encouragement is to the Guard member and to the mission. That, combined with a challenging training program will assure success in retaining quality individuals for the Air Guard community.