Japan-based Military Families Remain Top Concern

WASHINGTON, March 18, 2011 — Defense Depart­ment offi­cials are tak­ing “proac­tive, delib­er­ate” steps to stay ahead of the chang­ing con­di­tions in Japan, while keep­ing the safe­ty and well being of mil­i­tary fam­i­lies there always in mind, a DOD offi­cial said today.
“From the Pen­ta­gon, the mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ty and fam­i­ly pol­i­cy team and I are stay­ing keen­ly aware of the flu­id con­di­tions there,” Robert L. Gor­don III, deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for the Pentagon’s office of mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ty and fam­i­ly pol­i­cy, wrote in a blog released today. “From our schools and child care cen­ters to our com­mis­saries and exchanges, our focus is the well-being of mil­i­tary fam­i­lies.

“While we all may not be in Japan,” Gor­don added, “I know our hearts and thoughts all cer­tain­ly are.”

Offi­cials are com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing mil­i­tary fam­i­lies time­ly and mean­ing­ful infor­ma­tion in every sit­u­a­tion, Gor­don not­ed.

How­ev­er, he said, it “is mon­u­men­tal­ly [impor­tant] for our fam­i­lies liv­ing in the many [Japan­ese] cities and pre­fec­tures impact­ed by the tsuna­mi.” Gor­don sug­gest­ed ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies vis­it the fol­low­ing sources for up-to-date infor­ma­tion:

— Mil­i­tary com­mu­ni­ty and fam­i­ly policy’s Face­book and Twit­ter pages for instant fam­i­ly-sup­port updates;

— Com­mand and instal­la­tions’ social media pages for local announce­ments and guid­ance;

— The Depart­ment of Defense Edu­ca­tion Activ­i­ty web­site for up-to-the-minute sta­tus of DOD schools and guid­ance for both stu­dents and par­ents;

— Mil­i­tary OneSource’s Japan earth­quake and tsuna­mi page for infor­ma­tion about the dis­as­ter, includ­ing resources for locat­ing loved ones, radi­a­tion pro­tec­tion, mak­ing a dona­tion and cop­ing with fears fol­low­ing a trau­mat­ic event;

— Defense.gov’s spe­cial report on Japan for offi­cial updates from the Defense Depart­ment; and

— The Amer­i­can Red Cross web­site for infor­ma­tion on relief oper­a­tions in Japan.

Ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies still with­out pow­er should con­sult their installation’s fam­i­ly assis­tance cen­ter, cri­sis response cen­ter or fam­i­ly sup­port net­works, Gor­don said.

As anoth­er avenue of sup­port, the Defense Depart­ment has launched an online dis­cus­sion so peo­ple can share their mes­sages of com­fort, or advice, to mil­i­tary fam­i­lies in Japan.

“My hope is that this dis­cus­sion will serve to har­ness the sup­port and good­will of our com­mu­ni­ty and move us for­ward,” Gor­don wrote. “Our strength comes from our com­mu­ni­ty — each of us, all of us.

“This is not only the time to sup­port and sus­tain each oth­er,” he con­tin­ued, “it’s also an oppor­tu­ni­ty to share among our­selves impor­tant lessons we may have learned on how to help keep our fam­i­lies focused, main­tain a sense of nor­mal­cy — espe­cial­ly for our chil­dren — and pro­vide com­fort to our own dur­ing times of chal­lenge and cri­sis.”

Through resilience and a sense of com­mu­ni­ty, Gor­don said he has no doubt that ser­vice mem­bers and their fam­i­lies will over­come this most-recent chal­lenge.

“I nev­er cease to be amazed at the unfail­ing love and sup­port mil­i­tary fam­i­lies pro­vide to one anoth­er,” he wrote.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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