Warfighter Reading Room keeps families connected

| August 20, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Pfc. Marcus Fichtl
8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

Pfc. Terrance Abernathy, chaplain’s assistant, 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde., 8th TSC, uses the new Warfighter Reading Room. The room is designed for Soldiers to videotape themselves reading children’s stories to be used by their families when they are deployed. SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — One of the difficulties with the shift in focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, is the lack of infrastructure available for Soldiers in the field, ranging from living facilities to roads. 

Back home, the biggest difficulty for families of deployed Soldiers is the limited ability to communicate with loved ones. 

The 728th Military Police Battalion, 8th MP Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, hopes to alleviate the lack of communication with something tangible.

“One of the greatest things any parent can do with their child is read to them, and a lot of times with missions overseas, that isn’t possible,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Randy Curry, 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde. “Maybe there’s a lack of computers, maybe the Internet’s too slow or maybe the Soldier is out on patrol or at a remote outpost.” 

To help Soldiers fulfill their duties as parents, 728th MP Bn., 8th MP Bde., created a reading room: a quiet private place where a Soldier can take a book from the shelf, pick a backdrop and read.

However, this reading room is different. There are no kids to physically read to — just a video camera and a Soldier.

“The design of the reading room is for the Soldier to video record him- or herself reading a book, supplied by the battalion, and then to give that book and DVD to the family, so that while the Soldier is deployed, (the family) can still read a book together,” Curry said.

With the high deployment rate of the companies within the 728th MP Bn., getting the word out for the program is crucial, according to Curry. 

Opening shortly before the 552nd MP Company left for Afghanistan, more than a dozen Soldiers from all ranks quickly used the reading room before deploying. 

While the opening was a success, the ultimate goal is longevity and making the reading room an essential stop for all Soldiers before deployment.

“The 58th MP Co. and (728th MP Bn.) are deploying in the coming year,” Curry said. “(Being able to maintain) the reading room in Hawaii while we are gone, and developing a branch overseas, is of great importance for realizing the benefits of this program. We want to make it a standard for the 728th MP Bn.” 

The reading room is located on the first floor of the 728th MP Bn. Headquarters, Building 761.

Appointments can be scheduled at the chaplain’s office.

Category: Community

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