Communication can be a big issue between a Service Member and his/her supporters or family. By fostering good communication before a deployment or state activation occurs, you can relieve a great amount of unnecessary stress during that time period.
On this page you will find information regarding a variety of communication issues including:
- Communication with your Unit
- Communication with your Family
- Communication with your Children
- Communication with your Service Member (including information on Red Cross Messages)
- Communication from the Family Program Office
- Social Communication and Personal Risk
- Military OneSource
- Family Assistance with Communication
Communication with your Unit
First Point of Contact
Your first point of contact for Unit and Service Member business is your Unit. Your Unit should be the first place the Service Member calls if he/she is experiencing a pay issue, a benefit issue, a medical or legal issue, or is affected by a natural disaster. Make every effort to keep your Unit informed on events that occur within your life and to keep your paperwork up to date. Many problems that Service Members experience with pay or benefits could be prevented with proper communication.
Do not propagate the spreading of unofficial information. Rumors and speculation can cause a lot of problems. Before you share information or become emotionally reactive to information you have heard, check with your Unit to confirm whether it is correct or not.
Communication with your Family
Keep Your Family Informed
Keep your Family appropriately informed on what is occurring with your service to both the state of Colorado and the United States. This includes your parents! Families and supporters make sacrifices to make sure you are supported in your Service to the Colorado National Guard. By keeping them informed of changes in your service, promotions, school attendance and orders, you can put their minds at ease to a degree as they know you will communicate with them.
Keep In Touch While Away
Whether you are on orders for Annual Training, at a school, or preparing to deploy, come up with a plan for communication. You may not be able to call at all, or maybe only once a week; by letting your family know what to expect, you will be giving them a sense of peace. Make sure to share your communication plan with all levels of your family to include your close friends.
Make sure that you speak with your Family about rumor control. The official word or stance on an issue will come directly from the Unit. All other means of communication, including rumors, facebook, and speculation should be avoided. If you come across individuals sharing information that way, be kind but remind them that it is not appropriate to be spreading information that may or may not be true.
Communication with your Children
Communicate with your child(ren)
Children often understand a lot of things that are happening in their lives, even if we feel they are too young to do so. They often pick up on emotion and will react to changes within their world in ways that are not appropriate. One way to prevent this is to be talking with your children on what is going on in your Family. For instance, if you are getting ready to attend annual training or a school, let the child know as much as appropriate for their age category. Plan activities with your child to help them understand the time-line and celebrate their good behavior upon return. Make an additional communication plan with your children so that you can keep communication open while you are gone. This may include voice or picture communication, or may even be letters that you mail to them.
Communication with Your Service Member
Emergency Communication (Red Cross Message)
In the event that you need to send a Red Cross message to your Service Member while they are deployed or at annual training, please see our Red Cross Message page by navigating here.
Communication While on Orders
Communication within a Family, whether between a Service Member and a Spouse or a Service Member and his/her parents can be challenging while the Service Member is on orders. The Service Member’s day may be filled with duties from the moment they rise to the moment they go to sleep, and they may or may not be able to have communication via cell phone during this time. This can be frustrating to Family that is used to having them available by phone at all times. The best way to handle this is to communicate expectations before the Service Member leaves on orders. Although a phone call everyday may not be feasible, come up with a method and timeline for communication that will help alleviate problems before they become an issue. If you need assistance in improving communication with your Service Member, whether they are at home or on orders, please contact your Family Assistance team by navigating here.
Communication from the Family Program Office
There is a wealth of information that flows through the Family Program Office each week. Within the state of Colorado, there are currently two ways that you may receive information, and it is based upon your deployment status.
Not Currently Deployed – If your Service Member is not currently deployed, you should be receiving a weekly email from the Family Program Marketing Office called ‘The Connection’ email. All contacts that were valid as of July 2014 were automatically transitioned from the Family Readiness Support Assistance email distribution lists to this new email format. Please check your spam folders, or your promotion folders to identify this email and make sure it is getting to your inbox. OR, you can simply sign up by click here and you will start receiving the email in your inbox (once you verify your email address). These emails are limited to once a week communication, with the caveat that if there is an in-state natural disaster or emergency, the email list may be utilized to push out emergency information.
Currently Deployed – If your Service Member is or will soon be deployed for greater than 30 days, you should be receiving this weekly email from your Family Assistance Specialist. If you are not receiving emails, please send us an email by navigating here and the team will assist you!
Other Methods to Keep in the Loop
Please navigate here for other methods of receiving information from the Family Program Office, to include:
Social Communication and Personal Risk
Today’s world has a high level of social communication built into its core. Communication through social media outlets of all kinds can help you to keep in touch with friends and family. However, there are also risks by communicating through these methods, especially when it comes to military service. What does your social media page say about you? Does it reveal if you are away from your home for the weekend? Does it let everyone know that your spouse is now deployed and you are home alone? Check your privacy settings to see who knows more about you than you would like. For more information on negating risk while utilizing social media avenues, please contact your Family Assistance Specialist by navigating here.
Please know that there are regulations governing what can and cannot be shared about you, your Unit and your mission through your social media accounts. Violations can not only endanger yourself, your Family and your fellow Service Members, violations can also be punishable by UCMJ. Contact your Unit and your OPSEC/PERSEC office for more information on restrictions regarding your military service and social media.
Throughout the year, several different types of StrongBonds events are held for single Service Members, married Service Members and their spouses, and for Service Members with children. These events can help increase the communication between the Service Member and their Family. For more information on what a StrongBonds event entails, please navigate here. For information on when the next StrongBonds event will be held, please contact the Family Assistance Team here.
Military OneSource has a variety of tools that can assist you with whatever communication challenges you may be facing. For more information, navigate here, or call them at 1-800-342-9647.
Family Assistance Teams
Don’t forget! There are dedicated teams here to provide you with expert guidance on this subject. By calling the team that assists your branch of service, you will receive personalized care and assistance. They will walk with you from start to finish and through each step of the process. Contact them today!
- For Air Service Members, click here to visit the Airman & Family Readiness Program team page.
- For Army Service Members, click here to visit the Family Assistance Specialist team page.
- For all other branches, contact the Family Assistance Coordinator by clicking here.
Veteran Crisis Line
If you are having trouble communicating with your Service or Family Member, and you need help in finding them assistance, contact the Veteran Crisis Line. Click here to visit their website for more information.