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The rear detachment is responsible for remaining personnel and equipment and for assistance to families of deployed soldiers. This section focuses on the family support portion of the rear detachment mission. The rear detachment is the focal point for all family support matters that require official actions or approval. This establishes rear detachments as the core family assistance element at the unit level.

The Rear Detachment Commander (RDC) works closely with Family Support Groups (FSGs) to stay abreast of matters that require expeditious handling by the rear detachment or the Family Assistance Center (FAC). Rapid and effective resolution of problems encountered by families has a significant impact on the morale of soldiers and families.

TOPIC: Selection and Support of RDCs

DISCUSSION: The RDC faces many soldier and family concerns and must be prepared to provide the necessary assistance. The rear detachment accomplishes unit tasks for installation support, training of replacements, and property accountability. Even more difficult are the varied problems the RDC will have to solve involving family care. This demands a commander who is mature and sensitive to family problems.


  • Select the RDC early, either before or immediately after deployment notification.
  • Select the RDC based on rank, experience, and ability to accomplish the missions of the rear detachment and care for the remaining family members.
  • The RDC should not be more than two ranks below the commander of the unit.
  • The RDC should be experienced and familiar with potential family issues.
  • Ideally, select an RDC who can serve through the duration of the operation or ensure a transition period. This maintains continuity.

TOPIC: Selection of Rear Detachment Personnel

DISCUSSION: Research indicates that deployment operations require emphasis on the quality of personnel selected to perform duties in the rear detachment. In some instances, reports indicated that those left behind in the rear detachment were personnel that the deploying commander did not want to deploy. Commanders must be cognizant of the importance of the mission of rear detachment personnel in relation to the selection process.

LESSON(S): Quality, caring, experienced personnel, familiar with the community, are needed to fulfill family support requirements. Rear detachment personnel need to be knowledgeable in personnel, finance and supply and prepared for the many family requests and problems. If junior leaders are selected to be rear detachment leaders and NCOs, they must understand working relationships between the rear detachment, FSGs and family members. Ideally, two senior NCOs should be assigned to rear detachments for battalion and above levels.

TOPIC: RDC Administrative Functions

DISCUSSION: The following list reflects many RDC duties and requirements:

  • Be knowledgeable of all support agencies and methods in which to contact them.
  • Provide explanations to forward commanders concerning requests for emergency leave.
  • Work closely with the FSG.
  • Verify the rear detachment roster to ensure it accurately reflects all soldiers remaining in the rear detachment.
  • Provide assistance that requires official action (i.e., pay matters, official travel training, AER loans).
  • Record all contacts in an official logbook. Maintaining a record is essential for proper evaluation and follow-up.
  • Publish telephone numbers for, and other means of, contacting the RDC.
  • Forward mail for deployed soldiers. The RDC can serve as a postal supervisor prior to unit deployment. A person in the rear detachment should possess a valid mail clerk appointment card (DD Form 285).
  • Distribute or forward the leave and earnings statements of deployed soldiers to authorized recipient, based on POR.
  • Control storage, security, and inventory of POVs and personal items of deployed soldiers who reside in the barracks prior to deployment.
  • Provide briefings to pass accurate information and reduce rumors.
  • Define a role for the chaplain which makes him more than a crisis response resource (family education and training).
  • Regard family members as an integral part of the military organization.
  • Refer certain problems to an appropriate agency of the FAC if the problem is beyond the scope of the rear detachment.
  • Maintain a record of contacts and follow-up actions (see Appendix H).
  • Maintain liaison with the FSG and the FAC.
  • Conduct information meetings on family support concerns.

LESSON(S): The RDC must train personnel to respond to problems and requests of military families. The RDC must determine the abilities and level of knowledge necessary to operate the rear detachment in an efficient, supportive manner. Personnel must be informed of potential issues, resolution procedures, and follow- up techniques (see Appendix D, Appendix G, & Appendix H).

TOPIC: Rear Detachment Information Requirements

DISCUSSION: Deploying unit commanders are responsible for providing rear detachment commanders with information to care for their personnel, families, and property remaining at the installation. However, the information on the soldiers may be insufficient to identify potential family problems. Rear detachment standing operating procedures (SOPs) do not provide personal information on soldiers.

LESSON(S): The unit RDC can anticipate and solve problems when detailed guidance and information are provided by the command. Rear detachments need timely telephone/fax/E-Mail contact with the deployed force to address personnel, family and medical evacuee issues. To assist remaining families, information sheets should be provided on all soldiers' families. During the Preparation for Overseas Movement (POR), have soldiers complete information questionnaires on their families (see Appendix E). Gather information on all immediate family members, to include:

  • Location of children's schools
  • Address and phone number of spouse's next-of-kin or other relatives the spouse would reside with in the soldier's absence.
  • Spouse's work address and phone number (especially important for those families of soldiers attached for deployment).
  • Spouse's ability to speak English.
  • Spouse's ability to translate foreign language into English.
  • Spouse's accessibility to savings/checking account.
  • Physical, mental, or financial condition that might require rear detachment assistance of the family members.

The command should provide the RDCs, staff and duty officers with detailed guidance to assist remaining families. Within the SOP, provide instructions on what to do when family members have a problem. Provide step-by-step instructions, detailing who to refer the family to during duty hours and who the duty officer should call during/after duty hours. Provide a list of possible problems. The RDC should designate agencies to contact to assist in solving problems (see Appendix D).

TOPIC: Personal Property Storage, Accountability and Security

DISCUSSION: There may be little time between notification to deploy and deployment to correctly store and account for all soldiers' personal property. Before soldiers living off-post can store their personal property, deployment orders have to be published. Transportation can then schedule movers to relocate property of off-post soldiers. Orders preparation and moving take time and can cause some soldiers to be delayed for deployment

LESSON(S): It is essential that the RDC have a plan for storing, accounting for and securing the personal property of deploying soldiers.

  • Vacated motor pool bays can be used as central storage facilities. This provides security, while minimizing the guard requirement. This also enables the rear detachment to locate and ship soldiers' property either when changing duty stations, or if necessary, to a family member. By keeping all property at a central facility, the rear detachment does not have to break the seal on both the building and the room to retrieve a soldier's property.
  • A smaller guard force can secure property kept at a single location better than if it remained in billet rooms. By placing (POVs) in a common motor pool, the guard commitment is again reduced.
  • Storing personal property in a central facility leaves billets vacant for use by units during mobilization. This also ensures property will not have to be moved and possibly unpacked and repacked to vacate billeting.
  • Soldiers living off-post may not have access to storage space. However, when a large central facility is available, commanders can offer storage space.
  • Conduct courtesy checks of unoccupied on-post quarters. Husband-and-wife and single- parent deployments, while living in on-post quarters, are not authorized storage. Even though military police patrol housing areas, additional courtesy checks to ensure cars and quarters are secure will decrease thefts and claims against the government.

Table of Contents
Section II: Family Support Groups (FSGs)

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