Story and photo by Spc. Beth Raney
4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
Soldiers and Family members of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, participated in a deployment fair at the Fort Carson Special Events Center Jan. 9-12.
Army Community Service; Army OneSource; the 4th BCT chaplains’ office; Fort Carson counseling services; Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; and many other businesses and organizations offered their expertise and services to help both Soldiers and their Families during the upcoming deployment.
Char Ewald, a financial insurance specialist with United Services Automotive Association Federal Savings Bank, attended the fair to provide advice and information about potential services available to deploying Soldiers.
“We are here supporting the deployment of Soldiers from Fort Carson,” Ewald said. “We offer a (deployment) checklist. That checklist will guide them step by step as to what they need to do prior to deployment, including saving money on their insurance. The spouses are the ones taking care of business, and we know that, so we make sure that we help them every step of the way, as well,” she said.
Pfc. Adam Bruce, an unmanned aircraft systems repair specialist assigned to Company B, 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th BCT, said he enjoyed the informative nature of the fair.
“It’s pretty well set up,” he said. “They have (a lot) of representatives here. Since this is my first deployment, I’m definitely learning what I’m going to need.”
ACS representatives provide a lot of useful information to help deploying Soldiers and their Families during the deployment, said Kate McNeely, a Fort Carson DFMWR and ACS representative.
“We offer information on financial readiness, employment readiness, Family readiness, (and) how to thrive through a deployment and not just survive through a deployment,” explained McNeely. “Different classes and resources are available to Soldiers and their Families before, during and even after deployment. It gives (the Soldiers) peace of mind that their Families are going to be taken care of, and that’s one less thing they have to worry about.”
Staff Sgt. Christopher Thomas, a shop foreman assigned to Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, said this upcoming deployment will be his fifth, and he still finds the deployment fair helpful.
“I think it’s very helpful, especially for the married servicemembers and new Soldiers,” he explained, adding that he received valuable information about banking, finance and wills.
Thomas said he feels this type of event affects his Soldiers positively, especially the ones who have never deployed.
It is important for new Soldiers, especially the “first timers,” to know the different support organizations that the Army has available to support its community, said Chap. (Lt. Col.) Howard Field, 4th BCT Rear Detachment chaplain.
“I am here to let the Soldiers and their Family members know who their rear detachment chaplain is, to point them in the right direction if they have any questions, and to give them some literature, both for the Families and for some of the deploying Soldiers,” Field said.
Spouses attending the deployment fair had the opportunity to network with each other, sharing experiences while making new acquaintances at the deployment fair, said Field.
Sgt. Derek Koch, a squad leader assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, slated for his second deployment to Afghanistan, said the fair provided good opportunities for Soldiers.
“Most of my Soldiers are … new,” he said. “Most of them have only been in the Army for a couple of months, really, so something like this is a great chance for their Families to kind of get caught up on what some of the more senior personnel’s Families already know. It’s a great way for them to … get all of the information they’re going to need, or at least the vast majority of it, prior to deployment, so they can get everything set in order before they go.”
Spc. Beau Remaly, an unmanned aircraft systems repair specialist assigned to Company B, 4th BSTB, said he found the deployment fair valuable.
“I think the deployment fair was great because without it you feel like you’re missing something,” he said. “This gives you a sense … that you have everything taken care of by the time you’re done here. Then you have that confidence knowing (there are) no loose ends left behind.”
In addition to all of the information provided during the fair, the U.S. Military Cycling Team donated certificates for 30 free children’s bicycles, which were raffled to 4th BCT Soldiers attending the fair.