Commanders and spouses bond at Wartrace and Offsite conferences

Story by Sgt Ann Venturato
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

The containers have been loaded. The vehicles have been prepped and moved to the port. The Headquarters for the 13th Coscom is getting ready to deploy to Operation Iraqi Freedom. But even before containers were loaded, commanders and their spouses from both active duty and reserve units got together to form bonds that will be vital for the upcoming deployment.

In October, the 13th Coscom held a Wartrace conference on Fort Hood and an Offsite conference in San Antonio, Texas to meet with key commanders that will be possible deploying with the 13th Coscom.

It was a time for the commanders and rear detachment commanders to get acquainted and discuss issues such as family readiness groups and communications between the active duty units and reserve units. The soldiers of both the active and reserve units are joining forces together to provide the necessary forces to support the upcoming mission. The theme for the offsite was "We are one team."

It was a time to mingle with fellow spouses and commanders during briefings and meals. At the final dinner meal, a video entitled "When you are a Soldier" brought tears to some of the guests' eyes.

"It is time to put the game faces on; it is time to get down to work at being a Soldier," said Col. (P) James Chambers, the commander for the 13th Coscom at his closing speech to fellow commanders and their spouses.

While Chambers is leading the 13th Coscom deployed units, the 13th Coscom will still be in great hands as Col. Ken Ashford steps in as the rear detachment commander for the 13th Coscom.

"I am looking forward to being the rear detachment commander,” said Ashford. It is important that the right person with the right outlook assume the responsibilities of such a job. The rear detachment is vital for both the deployed Soldiers as well as their families, said Ashford.

The rear detachment is there to help relieve anxiety of the families who are left behind while the Soldiers are deployed. The rear detachment helps by providing accurate and complete information to the families, thus cutting down on inaccurate grapevine information.

A lot of essential information was passed out during both the Wartrace conference as well as the offsite.

Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Boardway, the command sergeant major for the 163rd Personal Services Battalion from Lansing, Mich., said, "The information given at the offsite has been very beneficial. Being able to interface with people who have just got back from being deployed is extremely helpful for what is to come."

Doctrine is good, but current intelligence pays off more by providing the Soldiers much needed insight on the situation, said Boardway.

The Wartrace and the offsite allowed commanders and their spouses to form bonds with other commanders and spouses. It is these bonds that will be needed while the Soldiers are deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


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COL(P) James Chambers talks with COL Ken Ashford, the rear detachment commander for 13th COSCOM

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Commanders and spouses bond together

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Spouses check out the Riverwalk Mall while down in San Antonio