MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Prior to a deployment, many commands hold an event where the service members and families are able to get together with the rest of the unit as a final sendoff. These events not only introduce military spouses to others like them, but it also familiarizes the families with what the unit has to offer in terms of help while their loved ones are overseas.
The first event of its kind for the Naval Hospital aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune occurred for approximately 25 Navy medical personnel during the pre-deployment brief at the Naval Hospital, July 1.
“This isn’t so much a brief as it is a farewell party,” said Navy Capt. Gerard R. Cox, commanding officer of NHCL. “Usually there about two or three people who are to deploy whom I give a brief to, but today we wanted to do something special for all those about to leave.”
Cox spoke about how the unusually large group of people slated for deploying vastly outnumbered any previous groups, so instead of a pre-deployment brief given to the few in his office, he held a family event. Spouses of those about to deploy were able to come and get information while interacting with other families.
“The families are able to learn about the CIAC, or the command individual augmentation coordinator, which is something that is not widely known about,” said Chief Petty Officer Mary Weiss-Brandenburg, acting command master chief for NHCL. “It is the Navy equivalent to the Marines’ family readiness officer.”
Along with the CIAC, the command legal officer was on hand to assist military dependants with anything pertaining to the technical side of a deployment. Families were well equipped with the recourses they may need to help them throughout their spouses’ deployments.
“My wife can get all the info she needs and ask all the questions she wants,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Emelio Rush, culinary specialist for NHCL who is deploying to Afghanistan. “There’s always someone for her to talk to and help with whatever may come up.”
The Naval Hospital personnel are scheduled to deploy to various countries including Afghanistan, Cuba and Djibouti. However, no matter where they go or for how long, their loved ones back in the states will always have a way to contact their spouses and get whatever information they may need.
“I know it’s a sacrifice, but it is a significant one that we all deeply appreciate,” said Cox. “Wherever you go, you will not only represent yourself, but the Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune and all of Navy medicine.”