Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

‘Fit for Any Test’ — Spouses form strong bonds

by Sgt. Shameka Edwards

4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office

Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, spouses participated in a Strong Bonds retreat Jan. 28-29 at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort.

The retreat is designed to help strengthen spouses during deployment and let them know that they are not alone, said Capt. Philip Rittermeyer, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, rear detachment chaplain.

“The retreat also serves as a way to help match the spouses with the available resources they may need and to connect them with one another,” said Rittermeyer.

According to the Strong Bonds website, the program is a unit-based, chaplain-led program which assists commanders in building individual resiliency by strengthening the Army Family. The core mission of the Strong Bonds program is to increase individual Soldier and Family member readiness through relationship education and skills training.

“I came to the retreat to get away, meet new people and learn new things,” said Lauren Alm, wife of

Pfc. Jesse Alm who is serving his first deployment in support of Operation New Dawn in Iraq.

“The retreat has been very helpful.”

During the retreat, the spouses took part in six sessions focusing on survival, readiness and financial matters to help them during the deployment. The sessions were led by Rittermeyer, military Family life consultants and Staff

Sgt. Timothy Rutledge, battalion finance noncommissioned officer, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div.

“This retreat is important on a number of levels,” said Lt. Col. Bernie Wiggins, 4th Inf. Div. Rear Detachment chaplain. “It is important to the spouses and equally important to the deployed Soldier who knows that their Family is being cared for.”

Wiggins said the retreat also served as a place where spouses could come together, instead of being by themselves, and be a source of strength for one another. “The spouses here are each other’s support system,” said Wiggins.

“The retreat gave me a place to connect with other spouses and learn important things such as how to deal with the stress of deployment while raising kids,” said Brandi Young, Company C co-Family readiness group leader, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Jason Young.

“The retreat gave me an opportunity to get out of the house which is very important during a deployment,” she said.

For more information on Strong Bonds, visit

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