The Family Readiness
Group (FRG) is a program provided by the military to help families
prepare for deployment and to support them throughout the deployment
process. The FRG provides families with information on what
to expect and what benefits they are entitled to, and it also
offers emotional support. This program was set up after the
start of the Vietnam War because the military realized families
were not getting enough support and were not ready for their
Pamela Lau, FRG leader for the 100th Battalion 442nd Delta
Dragons, decided to get involved after her son, Sgt. Keenan
her to see the movie We Were Soldiers, starring Mel Gibson. Lau
was touched by the movie and wanted to help other families go
through this process.
Anyone who cares about the soldiers or who has connections with
them can get involved. Roommates, best friends, or anyone in
the community can come to FRG meetings,” said Lau.
According to Lau, the FRG is always looking for donated items
for the troops and volunteer workers to help with projects
and events. The community can also show its support by attending
military appreciation days that are held at different locations
around the island.
Any kind of resources they are willing to help us with, we’ll
take. For example there are some mothers who need help with babysitting
their kids and some soldiers’ parents need care because
they are sick,” said Lau.
According to a Nov. 12 article in The Honolulu Advertiser,
Ame Frey, a wife of a marine serving in Afghanistan, collected
money to purchase 29 plane tickets to help bring soldiers
home from Fort Bliss for the holidays. She was motivated
when she found out that soldiers who didn’t have enough money
to pay for a plane ticket home had to stay at Fort Bliss.
Kiana Mawae, special events coordinator for Delta Company,
said that the FRG is working on several fundraising events
FRG program costs and for care packages for the soldiers.
are trying to fundraise enough money to send soldiers a care
package each quarter. We have over 130 soldiers we are fundraising
for,” said Mawae.
The FRG’s newest fundraiser is HI-5 recycling: where people
are asked to save their empty cans and bottles and bring them
to Fort Shafter every first Saturday of the month around 2 p.m.
An FRG member collects them and takes the cans and bottles to
the recycling center, and the money received is donated to the
Members of the FRG are also selling Zippy’s benefit chili
or banana or chocolate bread for $6. This money also goes directly
to the soldiers’ fund.
Mawae is the wife of Sgt. Rockne Mawae, and the couple has
a 4-year-old son. Mawae got involved in the FRG because she
spending time with other family members of soldiers going
through the same thing, and the group is a great source of
Fundraising is important, but I would like to see the FRG focus
more on the families. We are fundraising so much, we need to
refocus ourselves on helping the families,” said Mawae. “The
FRG also needs to work on getting more people to participate
and make family members feel more welcome.”
The FRG has also provided several seminars since the deployment
of their troops. According to Mawae, some people do not
know how to use computers or need help with explaining
children about the war and what will happen to their daddy.
seminar Mawae is looking into is one that teaches wives
how to maintain their vehicle by checking things like the
water and oil. No dates have been set as of now.
This deployment has not only affected Mawae, but also her
son. Although he is only four, he understands where his
dad is going
and what his job is in Iraq. Mawae said her son acts out
more and often cries for his daddy. During the day he is
at night he has a hard time.
He speaks highly of his dad and is very proud,” said Mawae. “Everyday
life has changed for the both of us. The rituals the three of
us used to do everyday have changed, and we miss them.”
How to help directly
The FRG for the 100th Battalion, 442nd Go For Broke Association,
makes it easy to help through a new program called Adopt-a-Platoon.
According to Staff Sergeant Joseph Yokoyama, coordinator
of the program, the idea behind this is to assign interested
and individuals to a platoon so they can send items to
soldiers to help with their deployment. People can request
platoon if they know someone in the battalion.
The first step is to contact Yokoyama by either e-mail
or phone. A letter will be sent out to the donor with
for the platoon, a list of items that soldiers are asking
for, and directions on how to send them.
The soldiers have a “what we want” sheet, and I think
it’s best if donors stick to that,” said Yokoyama. “Things
like LED lights, cheap watches, baby wipes, soap, and any kind
of local snacks.”
The 100th Battalion, 442nd is comprised of two companies
from O‘ahu, two companies from America Samoa, and one company
from Guam and Saipan.