Connecting to the Military Unit - dummies

By Sheryl Garrett, Sue Hoppin

Part of A Family’s Guide to the Military For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When you’re part of a military family, it can be overwhelming to think about moving and starting over every two to three years. During your time at the installation, your unit will become your extended family through shared experiences and deployments. To help with your transition, the military has a structure in place that ensures that you have people, resources, and programs out there to support you from day one.

  • Use your sponsor. When your servicemember receives an assignment, your family will be offered a sponsor from the gaining unit. You can always choose to decline a sponsor, but why limit the resources available to you? Your sponsor will act as liaison to your new installation and unit.

  • Keep contact info current. The first few days to weeks at any new job are spent attending meetings and filling out mountains of paperwork. Why would the military be any different? In the course of filling out all the paperwork, your DH or DW (darling husband or darling wife) will be asked to fill out an informational sheet for the unit roster.

  • Stay in the loop. Good communication is essential to the success of any squadron or unit. At any given time, there are a multitude of support systems and programs available to you. It’s up to you to find them. The best way to stay in the loop is to maintain an open line of communication.

  • Attend Hails and Farewells. This is when you and your family are officially welcomed into the fold of the unit. Hails and Farewells are official functions organized by the unit but well attended by the families. The purpose of these events is to welcome incoming members of the unit and farewell to outgoing members and their families. Regardless of where the events are held, they’re an important time to mingle and get to know other members of the unit and their families.

  • Go to other Social Events. Hails and Farewells are only the beginning of unit activities. This means that you will have the opportunity to attend and volunteer at various parties and picnics, fundraisers, spouse events, and holiday parties which are especially fun for families of young children, so make those a priority.