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Family Readiness Group Handbook

Handbook 07-30
July 2007

CALL Handbook 07-30: Family Readiness Group Handbook Cover

Rear Detachment Command: Mission and Organization

Chapter 2

The success or failure of a unit’s rear detachment (Rear D) directly impacts unit readiness and retention, while indirectly impacting the forward unit’s mission. Often the difference between success and failure in Rear D operations stems from the perception that a Rear D is a nebulous organization outside the standards and regulations of the Army – that it is somehow different. In reality, the Rear D is no different at its root than any other unit. 

Soldiers want and need unit identity, a task/purpose mission, and training on that mission. Because the Rear D addresses every legal issue within a unit at the time of deployment, the need for a disciplined, task-oriented organization magnifies. 

Every unit in the Army has a mission, prescribed task organization, and a mission essential task list (METL) to focus training. 


A simple mission statement posted in the unit area and understood by all Soldiers, both incoming and outgoing, pays dividends in terms of Soldier performance and behavior. 

Sample mission statement: 

"D Company conducts rear detachment operations in support of Task Force 2-34 Armor deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom III from DEC 04-UTC in order to allow the battalion to accomplish its mission." 

Task: Conduct rear detachment operations 

Purpose: Allow the unit to accomplish its mission 

Key element: The mission statement above has an unspecified completion date (UTC). It is easier to prepare Families and Soldiers for a tour extension ahead of time, than to announce an unexpected extension. 

Task Organization 

Task organization for a Rear D should be similar to the task organization of the unit one echelon below (i.e., company for battalion, battalion for brigade, and so on). The Rear D command team and staff must be able to operate in the absence of the parent unit. 

There are two divergent thoughts on organizing a Rear D at the battalion level: 1) organize as a company with platoons aligned by parent company; or 2) organize as a company with platoons aligned by tasks/mission and personnel. 

Sample task organization and considerations at a battalion level: 

Graphic - Battalion task organization
Figure 2-1. Battalion task organization

Command team 

  • Personnel and responsibilities: 
    • Commander: Experienced individual with command experience at a rank two below the parent unit (i.e., captain for battalion, major/lieutenant colonel for brigade, and colonel for division): 
      • Interacts with Family Readiness Group (FRG) leaders and the FRG advisor. 
      • Serves as the battalion commander. 

         (Note: See also Chapter 1 for abilities/attributes.) 

    • First sergeant (1SG): 
      • Establishes and maintains standards:
        • Barracks 
        • Headquarters building – area improvement/beautification 
        • Counseling 
        • Soldier accountability 
      • Serves as the battalion command sergeant major. 
      • Maintains schedule on casualty battle drill rehearsals. 
      • Maintains DA Form 6 (Duty Roster) for sponsorship, both incoming Soldiers and returnees. 
      • Focuses on caring for Soldiers. 
    • Executive officer (XO) (good use of a nondeployable lieutenant): 
      • Supervises supply, arms room, and maintenance. 
      • Serves as safety officer. 
      • Trained to take command; provides flexibility to the commander. 
      • Proficient in all casualty battle drills. 
  • Considerations: 
    • XO allows the Rear D to effectively balance all requirements with minimal external assistance; can augment the commander during mass casualty situations. 
    • Commander and 1SG need experience in applying Uniform Code of Military Justice action. 

Headquarters platoon 

  • Personnel and responsibilities: 
    • Platoon sergeant (PSG): Senior-ranking noncommissioned officer (NCO) responsible for platoon accountability and accomplishing assigned missions; can serve in dual positions. 
    • Personnel clerk: Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 42A, Human Resource Specialist: 
      • Preferably an NCO; processes majority of personnel actions for the forward-deployed unit. 
      • Must be able to complete all transactions required of a Personnel Administration Center (PAC). 
      • Supervises mailroom clerk. 
    • Mailroom clerk: 
      • Requires certification 
      • Consolidate at brigade level, if possible 
      • Can also work publications 
    • Supply sergeant: Establishes and maintains supply room; responsible for property accountability. Supervises the following: 
      • Arms room (requires a school-trained armorer) 
      • Maintenance (should be an MOS 63-series Soldier; use nondeployable personnel) 
      • Repairs and utilities (R&U) (requests and completes building repairs) 
    • Command finance NCO (CFNCO): Works with the Army Community Service NCO in charge (NCOIC) to assist Families: 
      • Provides access to financial assistance for Soldiers and Families; documents assistance provided. 
      • Tracks trends and prevents abuses of the system. 
    • S2/S3: Individual capable of working security and training issues with higher headquarters. 
  • Considerations: 
    • Shortages in knowledgeable personnel will require higher Rear D headquarters to augment in support of the unit. 
    • Fight to get qualified NCOs for the supply SGT and PAC NCO. 
    • Acquire a representative to work with the Director of Information Management for automation support. 
    • Establish a training room. Utilize a junior NCO to handle the routine training room issues; does not need to be a permanent position. 
    • Some capabilities can be consolidated at brigade level. 

Replacement platoon (1st Platoon) 

  • Personnel and responsibilities: 
    • PSG: 
      • Senior-ranking NCO responsible for platoon accountability, accomplishing assigned missions, borrowed military manpower (BMM) Soldiers, reintegrating all returnees, and training all replacement Soldiers for deployment. 
      • Deployment training NCO. 
      • Can serve as the S3 representative; schools NCO. 
    • Soldiers: 
      • Support BMM and separate duty taskings. 
      • Returnees (wounded in action [WIA] and disease and nonbattle injury [DNBI]). 
      • Replacements. 
  • Considerations: 
    • Develop a tool to track completion of the mandatory reintegration tasks for all returnees. 
    • Develop a tracking tool for predeployment training; maintain all training records. 
    • Use a comprehensive sponsorship program to receive new Soldiers and Families as well as returnees. 

Nondeployable platoon (2nd Platoon) 

  • Personnel and responsibilities: 
    • PSG: Senior-ranking NCO responsible for platoon accountability, accomplishing assigned missions, and processing all legal actions and medical evaluation boards (MEBs): 
      • Legal liaison. 
      • MEB liaison. 
      • Unit prevention leader (UPL); conducts monthly urinalysis; able to conduct command-directed urinalysis. 
    • Soldiers: Consists of all Soldiers determined nondeployable, which includes medical, MEB, mental health, and legal. Soldiers cleared to deploy transfer to 1st Platoon. 
  • Considerations: 
    • Do not label Soldiers with legal or mental health issues. A negative command climate will adversely affect the discipline of the unit and the results of any legal actions. A negative label equates to punishment. 
    • Always consult your trial counsel when in doubt. 
    • Develop and maintain a comprehensive drug and alcohol program; maintain discipline and punish offenders. 

Army Community Service (ACS) platoon 

Some posts consolidate Rear D desks similar to the staff duty officer/staff duty NCO in the ACS building to facilitate supporting the Families. 

  • Personnel and responsibilities: 
    • PSG/NCOIC (deployable SSG should serve as a permanent cadre member due to the importance of maintaining stability in supporting the Families): 
      • Works with FRG leaders to maintain accurate rosters and contact information. 
      • Maintains family member database. 
    • Soldiers (three teams, with an NCO (E5) and a specialist (E4) on each team): 
      • Use medical nondeployables or WIA returnees. 
      • Maintain as much stability as possible. 
      • Rank is important; Families typically do not trust a private with their personal issues. 
      • Three teams provide flexibility in developing work schedules and provide additional manpower during casualty operations. 
  • Considerations: 
    • Man with quality personnel; brief Families that these personnel are solely dedicated and trained to help them find solutions to their problems. 
    • Do not place Soldiers with legal or mental health issues in positions providing contact with Families. 
    • Establish a trained ACS cell for the mission rehearsal exercise. 
      • Train Families to utilize resources. 
      • Avoid the expectation that the commander or 1SG will handle every issue. 
      • Identify Families with recurring issues and address with chain of command during final deployment preparations. 
      • Identify points of friction. 
      • Establish family member database and family support systems. 
      • Learn from your mistakes.

Army regulations state a unit may utilize deployable Soldiers up to 2 percent of the unit’s authorized strength as Rear D cadre. Recommended permanent cadre members include the following: 

    Commander            PAC clerk
    1SG                Supply SGT
    XO (if possible)        Armorer
    CFNCO            Mailroom clerk
    ACS PSG 

Sample Task Organization 

Graphic - Sample Task Organization
Figure 2-2

Graphic - Sample Task Organization
Figure 2-3

Graphic - Sample Task Organization
Figure 2-4

Mission Essential Task List (METL) 

Do essential things first. There is not enough time for the commander to do everything. Each commander will have to determine wisely what is essential and assign responsibilities for accomplishment. He should spend the remaining time on near essentials. This is especially true of training. Nonessentials should not take up time required for essentials. 

--General Bruce C. Clarke 

A mission essential task is a collective task. To accomplish an appropriate portion of its wartime operational mission, the organization has to be proficient in completing this collective task. The commander must identify these mission essential tasks in a battle-focused METL, which provides the foundation for the unit’s training program. According to FM 7-0, Training the Force, all company-level and above units develop a METL that is approved by its designated wartime commander. 

All Rear Ds operate in a resource-constrained environment that requires maximizing every individual and resource. It is important to focus the newly-formed unit on its mission and quickly develop a METL to focus the training efforts of the cadre prior to deployment. 

Some common tasks associated with a METL are deploy, attack, defend, and movement to contact. Rear D essential tasks are caring for the Families of the Soldiers and conducting all facets of casualty operations – a zero-defect operation. 

As in the normal METL development process, subordinate units are nested with their higher headquarters. Remember, a Rear D is no different than any other unit. 

Sample METL 

1. Casualty notification/assistance. 

  • Brigades identify qualified personnel (all Rear D E6 and above should be qualified). 
  • Brigades submit names of qualified personnel and those who are scheduled or being scheduled for casualty notification/assistance training to division Rear D G3. 
  • Rear D G3 maintains roster for casualty notification officer/casualty assistance officer (verify names). 

2. Coordinate with and assist FRG. 

  • Brigades identify one E7 to be the assistant to the FRG liaison. 
  • Brigades submit names to the Rear D G3. 

3. Out-process/command and control stay-behind Soldiers. 

  • Brigades will submit daily duty status to the Rear D G1. 
  • Brigades will hold daily duty call (FM) except for holidays; long weekend counseling is still required for all Soldiers. 
  • Brigades will report all serious incident reports to the Rear D division staff duty officer. 
  • Brigades will have a minimum of a staff sergeant for staff duty at the brigade level. 

4. Process and ensure new Soldiers are trained for forward movement. 

  • Rear D division G1 will track all new Soldiers as they arrive to the division and are assigned to the brigade. 
  • Brigades will ensure that new Soldiers are in-processed and complete all necessary training (deployment briefs, individual readiness training, weapons qualification, and central issue facility) prior to deployment. 

5. Oversee sustainment of left-behind equipment (LBE). 

  • Brigade Rear D commanders will ensure that they have properly inventoried and accounted for all LBE. 
  • Rear D brigades will be prepared to facilitate the movement of LBE equipment, if not completed by the deploying unit. 
  • Rear D must be prepared to maintain any LBE and consolidate equipment into a centralized location. 

6. Manage reduced unit footprint in accordance with footprint strategy. 

  • All Rear D units be prepared to transfer responsibility of facilities to garrison. 
  • Maintain all Rear D facilities. 

7. Represent unit at corps and off-post activities; rehearse all ceremonies. 

8. Set conditions for unit redeployment and reception. 

  • Plan and coordinate unit reintegration training and redeployment ceremonies.  
  • Develop time line for property reintegration with the parent unit. 

Brigade/battalion METL 
  1. Conduct casualty operations. 
  2. Conduct battalion- and company-level garrison operations. 
  3. Conduct family support operations. 
  4. Conduct replacement operations. 
  5. Conduct deployment/redeployment support operations. 

Conduct casualty operations (see Chapter 6)

  • Taking care of Soldiers and their Families (a zero-defect operation). 
  • Utilize battle drills. 
  • WIA/DNBI returnee reception: 
    • Establish sponsor system similar to that used for newly-assigned Soldiers. 
    • Develop a reintegration checklist. 
  • Develop kits. 
  • Standardize memorials. 
  • Include the FRG; they can be combat multipliers or combat dividers. 
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! 

Conduct routine garrison operations 

Conduct operations of the deployed unit and one unit down (i.e., a deployed battalion = battalion- and company-level garrison operations). 

  • Company-level operations: 
    • Supply 
    • Personnel: 
      • Legal 
      • Medical/MEB 
    • Maintenance 
    • Training 
  • Battalion-level operations: 
    • Unit status report (USR) 
    • Personnel asset inventory (PAI) and PAC operations: 
      • Mailroom 
      • Publications 
      • All personnel actions 
      • Finance 
    • Brigade and post taskings and missions 
    • Schools 
    • Maintenance 

Conduct family support operations (see Chapter 5)

  • Train the Families via predeployment briefs: 
    • Personal responsibilities 
    • FRG responsibilities 
    • Rear D responsibilities 
  • Train the FRG leaders: 
    • Gain and maintain trust. 
    • Gain and maintain two-way communication. 
    • Develop and disseminate home front command information campaign. 
    • Equip Families to solve problems; serve as enablers and support, as opposed to solving the problems. 

Conduct replacement operations 

  • Receive and integrate new Soldiers: 
    • Provide sponsors. 
    • Provide in-processing checklists. 
    • Link up Families with the FRG. 
  • Train Soldiers. 
  • Equip Soldiers. 
  • Process leave requests. 
  • Conduct precombat inspections (PCI). 
  • Manifest and ship Soldiers forward. 

Conduct deployment/redeployment support operations 

  • Manage manifests and baggage details. 
  • Clear barracks. 
  • Turn-in/draw barracks, motor pools, and unit buildings. 
  • Ship supplies and equipment forward. 
  • Monitor rail support operations. 
  • Activate/deactivate unit arms rooms. 

Keys to Success: Mission and Organization 

  • Clearly define the following: 
    • Mission 
    • METL 
    • Task organization 
    • Chain of command down to the individual Soldier 
    • Battle drills 
  • Create a unit identity (e.g., D Company). 
  • Conduct a mission rehearsal exercise. 
  • Trust and train junior leaders. 
  • Manage leave - Use awards and streamers to reinforce success. 
  • Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!


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