“Readiness is about being able to help the unit as a whole and empowering them with information,” Deanna Garcia, Fort Bliss Mobilization and Deployment supervisor, in her office at Fort Bliss, Texas, April 9, 2021. | Photo By Stephanie Santos
As service members continue to train and deploy in defense of our nation’s freedom, the demands to provide operational support and training have become an essential part of their individual readiness.
The Fort Bliss Army Community Service Mobilization and Deployment program is charged with meeting these operational demands and preparing Soldiers, civilians and families for challenges that may arise throughout each phase of military missions.
Mobilization and Deployment Supervisor Deanna Garcia credits her team for “standing by, and always being ready to support, before, during and after a deployment.”
“Support doesn’t just start when orders are issued. Our team stays prepared and ready at all times…as the deployment gets closer and the tempo picks up, so does the stress,” she said. “We’re here to get the resources out immediately by working with our units and support groups.”
Deploying units are assigned to a mobilization team member who provides training on ACS programs focusing on financial readiness, budgeting, emotional well-being, community resources and family advocacy. In addition, the mobilization team works in tandem with neighboring support agencies such as the Red Cross, United Services Organization, TRICARE and legal advisors.
Soldier and Family Readiness Groups, along with unit service coordinators, provide a steady pace of deployment information and briefings among units and family members. In addition to the mandatory training, units can request specific resources based on the deploying unit and projected support programs.
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic brought in-person training and classes to a halt, this new virtual meeting platform has attracted even more participants due to the convenience of remote meetings,” said Garcia.
She noted that one communication challenge is reaching out to families who don’t reside on the installation and may have a misconception that ACS programs aren’t offered to them.
“We‘re here to bring resource tools to the entire family—on-and-off-post,” said the Army veteran. She highlighted that opportunities to volunteer or seek employment, as well as support programs, are available to help families cope with the separations while their Soldier is deployed.
Zenon Molina, a Mobilization and Deployment team specialist, said he stays on call for deployment flight changes and stands ready to support every phase of the rotation cycle including emergency assistance, reintegration training and legal guidance.
“We’re here to reach out to whoever needs our support…that’s really our entire purpose,” said Molina. “Even if we can’t help someone directly, we can give them direction on where to go and that’s the best part for me.”