The Department of Defense announced on Jan. 19 the recipients of its first Reserve Forces Family Readiness Award. The award was established to recognize the top unit in each Reserve component. The units selected are:
Army National Guard: Battery E (Target Acquisition), 161st Field Artillery, located in Great Bend and Larned, Kan.
Army Reserve: 530th Military Police Battalion, Omaha, Neb.
Naval Reserve: Patrol Squadron 64, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Willow Grove, Pa.
Marine Corps Reserve: I Marine Expeditionary Force Augmentation Command Element (MACE), Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Air National Guard: 168th Air Refueling Wing, Fairbanks, Alaska
Air Force Reserve: 482nd Fighter Wing, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla.
Coast Guard Reserve: Port Security Unit 309, Port Clinton, Ohio
One unit from each Reserve component was selected based on its demonstrated ability to affect family support and readiness favorably, together with the mission readiness and unit capability. Units must have a comprehensive family readiness program that demonstrates the interdependence between mission readiness and family readiness.
"More than any time in the past, the increasingly high operations tempo of our Reserve servicemembers requires a bond between family readiness and the member's ability to pay full attention to the military mission," said Charles L. Cragin, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. "This new award recognizes that vital linkage."
The award selections were based on the strength of each unit's family readiness program and how well it supports a high state of mission readiness. Also, a mixture of measurable and quantifiable factors were considered, including how well the program could support anyone from any Service who may need assistance. Direct unit commander involvement also was a key indicator of a program's effectiveness.
"This award is another important step in the Department's continuing effort to recognize the Reserve components as full partners of the Total Force," said Cragin. National Guard and Reserve members are particularly aware of the need for family integration into their unit's mission.
"They have military and civilian careers and they must rely on their family readiness programs to assist them in preparing their loved ones for their absence while performing military duty, said Cragin."