Taking on the responsibility of an entire unit can be a challenge for new commanders and first sergeants. The workdays often become longer and their workload increases as they transition into these positions.
For spouses, the new leadership position of their significant other often means more responsibility and visibility for the Family as well. Spouses are often expected to take on bigger roles that support their spouse’s new position and unit’s mission.
In order to help these spouses, the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade teamed up with Army Community Services to host a Command Leadership Spouse Seminar, Oct. 23 to 24.
“We wanted this specific training for our spouses in the (82nd CAB) because when spouses understand how they can support their husband or wife’s mission through the Family readiness group or other volunteer efforts within the company, it can make a world of difference for the units, and ultimately the brigade,” said Leigh Ann Musiol, wife of Col. Mike Musiol 82nd CAB commander.
ACS has offered Family readiness group leadership training for many years, but the Command Leadership Spouse Seminar is designed to help arm leader spouses with information that will help them in their new roles.
“Command Team Spouse training is set up to help spouses learn what role they might be expected to fill when their spouses take on leadership roles in their units,” said Elizabeth Foote, Army Family Team Building Volunteer Program manager. “It gives them information that can help open the lines of communication between the spouse, their leader and the Families they will support.”
The curriculum covered various topics such as mentorship, conflict resolution, protocol and communication.
“The information we learned here, I think is vital, especially when you are new to a unit,” said Sibhan Norris.
The seminar used scenarios to help the group understand the various expectations and challenges they could experience during their leadership role.
“Our newer spouses may not realize how important it is to help our leaders through the FRG and by working through some of the issues that the Families might have, this gives them some real things they can use to help when supporting their spouse,” said Cynthia Kelly.
Some of the team building skills included lessons in protocol, which showed spouses how to prop
erly introduce people, walk through a receiving line and the proper etiquette when attending military functions.
“Not everyone knows what is expected when participating in various functions that call for specific protocol,” said Melanie O’Neill, a volunteer with Fort Bragg Army Community Service. “In some situations, attire and introductions are very important.”
Although the majority of the group was composed of 82nd CAB spouses, spouses throughout the 82nd Airborne Division were invited to the seminar.
Santina Thomas, of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 82nd Abn. Div., attended the event. She and her husband, Capt. Andre Thomas, who commands Company B, HHBn., have only been married for five months.
“I am glad I came to this training seminar because it has shown me so much more and given me a good start on how to better support my husband,” Thomas said.
The seminar encouraged Thomas and other spouses to take additional classes available to them at Fort Bragg.
ACS offers many classes like the Command Team Spouse Leadership course that helps leaders, spouses, troopers and their Families integrate, communicate and team build within their units.
“This information and training is vital to leaders, their command teams and Families especially if you are new to the Army,” Foote said. “All our classes are free to any unit and we welcome everyone to participate when they can. Our goal is to help every Family as they integrate into our community and their units.”