Family Readiness Group Handbook
Rear Detachment Challenges
“Defending the home front” sounds like a slogan from another era until you take a closer look at the challenges of the rear detachment (Rear D), including medical processing, legal processing, property accountability, command information dissemination, and interaction with the local community.
Medically nondeployable Soldiers can make up 60 to 70 percent of a brigade’s nondeployable roster and includes the following:
Soldiers on temporary profiles prior to deployment. Once these Soldiers are rehabilitated and cleared for duty, they are deployed forward.
Wounded-in-action (WIA) Soldiers who return for treatment. WIA Soldiers and their Families are cared for throughout the recovery process.
Soldiers with P3 and P4 profiles. These Soldiers require a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) Medical Retention Board (MMRB) or a medical evaluation board (MEB) to assess their fitness for duty.
- Generally, when a Soldier receives a P3 or P4 profile, you should be notified that the Soldier is going to be scheduled for an MMRB:
- Ask Soldiers with P3 or P4 profiles if their physicians are referring their cases to a MEB.
- If not, check with the G1 Strength Management office for a scheduled MMRB date and your list of requirements.
- Ninety percent of MMRBs refer the case to a MEB:
- A MEB is an informal proceeding consisting of at least two physicians who evaluate the medical history of the Soldier and determine how the injury/disease will respond to treatment protocols.
- During the course of the MEB, physicians refer to medical fitness standards contained in AR 40-501, chapter 3 (1998). The regulation lists various medical conditions and physical defects that may render a Soldier unfit for military duty.
- Soldiers with P3 or P4 profiles that require a MEB may stay and assist the unit or be moved to a medical hold company, thus removing the Soldier from the unit’s books. The local commander determines which policy is implemented.
- Many medical nondeployables are quality NCOs with valuable experience. Use them actively in leadership roles while in the MEB process.
- The MEB process is lengthy, and a majority of the steps are out of the control of the unit and the Soldier.
Remember, as the commander you must balance the needs of the Army and the needs of the Soldier. Give consideration to the service rendered by the Soldier when proceeding with the process. The commander’s memos to the board appear as form letters with no real substance; however, weighing in on the side of the Soldier with personal comments can carry enough weight with the board to produce a desired outcome.
Keys to success
- Understand the process.
- Appoint one noncommissioned officer (NCO) to track MEB processing. Use a tracking tool for visibility (see Table 4-1 for an example). The NCO must maintain weekly contact with the physical evaluation board officer (PEBLO).
- Consider the Soldier’s desires.
- Keep copy of all paperwork for the MEB packet in a secured area at unit.
- Start clearing the Soldier when the packet is mailed.
- Keep the Soldier proactive, as it is in the best interest of the Soldier and their family.
Phase 1 & 2
- Soldiers do not turn in packets on time.
- The PEBLO retains the medical records, which prevents the completion of Phase II physicals.
- Doctors take excessive time to complete dictations.
- Soldiers are not cleared from post when orders are ready for pickup.
Soldiers must trust the unit to quickly process legal actions to punish and remove Soldiers when they engage in illegal activities or disobey valid military orders. Holding Soldiers accountable and processing them accordingly has a positive impact on unit effectiveness. Be tough, yet fair.
Key legal references include the following:
- Manual for Courts-Martial.
- AR 27-10, Military Justice, Chapter 3, Nonjudicial Punishment.
- AR 635-200, Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations.
- FM 27-1, Legal Guide for Commanders (covers all administrative, nonjudicial, and judicial actions).
- Uniform Code of Military Justice, Subchapter III, Non-Judicial Punishment, and Subchapters IV through IX, which discuss procedures for courts martial.
Commander’s disciplinary tools
The following are tools available to the commander when imposing discipline:
- Denying pass privileges
- Corrective training
- Rehabilitation transfer
- Adverse efficiency report
- Administrative reduction in rank
- Including offense and corrective action in personnel records (putting a flag in the record)
- Barring reenlistment
- Administrative separation
- Nonjudicial (Article 15) (ensure UCMJ chain is clear before deployment):
- Company grade (battalion RDC)
- Field grade (brigade RDC or division RDC)
- Judicial (Court Martial):
- Special (Bad Conduct Discharge [BCD])
Establish your standards for legal processing early in the deployment process and be consistent through deployment. Be open to changing your approach if the Soldier’s actions/behavior changes once the legal process has started. Start establishing your standards by asking the following questions:
- What does the forward unit want done with the Soldier?
- What precedence do you want to set?
- Rehabilitate Soldiers and retain them.
- Process Soldiers out of the Army.
- Hold Soldiers accountable for their actions before processing them out of the Army.
- Allow Soldiers’ actions/behavior to influence your decision on a case by case basis.
Summary court martial (SCM)
SCM allows the commander to impose jail time for certain offenses. A commander can quickly execute an SCM within the brigade Rear D. Maintaining discipline within the Rear D is a difficult but essential process that builds trust and confidence in the remaining members of the unit.
Administrative separations (Chapters)
The commander must ensure the unit is efficient at completing administrative separations. Administrative separations are either command initiated (involuntary) or Soldier initiated (voluntary). There are three types of discharge: Honorable, General (under honorable conditions), or Under Other Than Honorable Conditions. Consult AR 635-200, Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separation for additional information on administrative separations.
Keys to success
- Understand the process.
- Determine your standards. Weigh the desire to punish with the need to process Soldiers out of the Army.
- Appoint one NCO to track and expedite the legal process:
- Use a tracking tool for visibility (see Table 4-2 on page 38 for an example).
- Get to know brigade legal NCOs.
- Get to know transition point personnel.
- Start the clearing process upon submitting chapter packets:
- Schedule central issue facility (CIF) appointment first.
- Complete mental health evaluation.
- Complete Phase I and II physicals.
- Be proactive.
- Keep and secure a copy of all paperwork for the packet at the unit.
- Send sterilized copies of court martial proceedings forward for posting so deployed Soldiers can see the punishments imposed in writing.
- Brigade and division Rear Ds retain sufficient legal NCOs/Soldiers to complete the initial load of legal actions and can deploy some forward based on mission analysis.
- Counseling must be done correctly. Identify which article of the UCMJ the Soldier violated in order to streamline the creation of charges.
- The cardinal rule of military justice: Always consult your trial counsel!
Packet to Legal
Soldier started clearing
Pick up from Legal
Get Temp ID
Packet back to Legal
Processed for signatures Signatures
Copy of clearing papers to legal legal
Packet to Transition
1st Transition Appt
- Lost paperwork.
- Delays in appointments with Trial Defense Services.
- Clearing family and unit housing.
- Shipping household goods.
- Confinement issues.
- Long waits for appointments (location and situation dependent) with CIF.
- Financial liability investigations (FLI) and/or statement of charges not correct or all-inclusive.
Command Information Campaign
Command information includes predeployment briefings; newsletters; Family Readiness Group (FRG) phone trees; Web sites; virtual FRG Web sites (vFRG), sponsored by Army Community Service as an online portal for Families to maintain contact with the unit; and FRG meetings. The key players in the command information campaign include the battalion commander, battalion command sergeant major (CSM), company commanders and first sergeants (1SGs), the RDC, Rear D personnel, the FRG advisor, FRG leaders, FRG points of contact, Soldiers, and the Families (including non-local extended Families, Families of single Soldiers, and close friends).
Key components to a successful command information campaign include the following:
- Newsletters (send to families via e-mail or through the postal service, whichever is appropriate):
- Newsletters are the most successful way to prevent rumors.
- Newsletters can be posted on a unit Web site or vFRG for widest dissemination.
- A weekly newsletter from the forward commander and subordinate commanders supplies Families with needed information.
- Pre-deployment briefings:
- Include the battalion commander, the battalion CSM, and the RDC.
- Sets the tone for the Rear D, and should be mandatory for the Soldier and highly encouraged for the spouse.
- RDC should address the responsibilities of the Rear D, the FRG, and the Families.
- Include Rear D NCOs. Spouses often talk to Soldiers and leaders they know.
- Use caution on setting redeployment time lines.
- Monthly FRG leader’s meeting:
- RDC leads the discussion in conjunction with the FRG advisor.
- RDC coordinates with the FRG advisor ahead of time in order to speak with one voice.
- RDC disseminates the command message via talking points.
- RDC attends company FRG meetings and is available to brief or answer questions, as required.
- RDC hosts quarterly battalion FRG meetings and shares video or photos sent from the forward-deployed unit.
- Pre-deployment briefings:
- Adjust messages based on issues circulating both forward and at home.
- Use FRG leaders to identify topics and develop talking points to address the issue.
- Monitor local/national/international news; if there has been a big fight near to where the forward unit is located, reassure Families that Soldiers are okay.
- Special events:
- Recognize the contributions of sponsors and key spouses.
- Do something unique for both the spouses and the Soldiers deployed forward (e.g., customized birth orders).
Interaction with the Local Community
The interaction of RDCs with the local community is different for each post and unit. Often, battalion commanders do not directly interact with the community, as that responsibility is usually reserved for garrison commanders and division commanders, but things change when units deploy. Private organizations often provide local community support by sponsoring programs for Families of deployed Soldiers.
As the RDC, you are responsible for the interaction between the FRGs and private organization sponsors. Routine interaction with sponsors should remain with the company FRG leaders. Set the groundwork early so both the FRG leaders and the sponsors understand the expectations and limitations of the sponsorship program.
When in doubt, ask the administrative law judge advocate general or ethics advisor to ensure nothing illegal or improper occurs. Personal interaction with local sponsors goes a long way to bolster the support provided. Simple gestures of appreciation and invitations to unit functions also serve to reinforce the relationship between the unit and the sponsor. It is the RDC’s responsibility to ensure the interaction remains legal and appropriate. The link to the local community is critical in selling the Army story to civilians who have limited contact with the Army.
Some divisions, such as the First Infantry Division, have a society to provide additional support to units. Use this resource, if available. For example, the family members of 1ID Soldiers killed in action who belong to the Society of the Big Red One are eligible for scholarships. Veterans groups post extensive networks around each medical treatment facility, which provide additional assistance and support to wounded Soldiers and their Families.
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