Corps Taking Care of Families of Deployed Marines, General Says

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

HOUSTON, July 13, 2006 - The Marine Corps has made tremendous improvements in its family-support programs since the war on terrorism began, a top general in that service said here yesterday.

During his keynote remarks at the Military Child Education Coalition's 8th annual conference, Lt. Gen. James F. Amos, commander of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, invited the audience to look at their watches. He noted that though it was just after 1 p.m. here, it was after 10 p.m. in Iraq. "It has begun to cool off in Iraq, about 115 degrees outside," he said.

He recognized the thousands of family members manning the home front for servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan, many at that minute on patrols in dangerous remote areas. "A lot of (the family members) are in our cities, outside our major military bases, but they're also in small towns all across our country," Amos said. "So what you're doing is critically important for those children. You're setting the conditions so that they can have a sense of stability in their life. You're providing a sense of comfort for them."

He said the Marine Corps Family Readiness Program has blossomed into one of the premier programs and efforts in the Corps.

"We've got money and professional help like we've never had before. There's a total commitment from Headquarters Marine Corps to support the families in any way we can," he said. "We realize that there are needs out there that we never thought of before. It's now serious business for our commanders."

Senior leaders now champion such programs, Amos said. "In the old days, sergeants major had tattoos everywhere, chewed tobacco and were the meanest, nastiest people on the face of the Earth -- they still are, thank God," Amos said. "But somewhere along the line they married some wonderful ladies. Those wonderful ladies in many of our infantry battalions and squadrons are some of the most ardent supporters (of such programs). They're the ladies that are stepping forward and going to be the key advocate in the family-readiness programs.

"So our commanders and our sergeants major get it, and that's one of the best things that happened coming out of this war," Amos said.

The general said the Marine Corps has programs that help units and families before they deploy. "We spend a lot of time with them, even giving them time off so the Marine can go home and take care of the child so the mother or father can come to classes," Amos said. "We've got a lot of female Marines deploying over there. We build networks and make sure we provide them the classes about what to expect so there are no surprises at the other end."


Lt. Gen. James F. Amos, USMC []

Related Site:

Military Child Education Coalition []

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