Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Polar Bears Hosts Grand Get Together

1st Lt. Michael Ip
Contributing writer

Finding an indoor venue to assemble the Families of an entire battalion of Soldiers can be a difficult task. But when Lt. Col. Richard G. Greene, commander of 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, started working with Morale, Welfare and Recreation Director Hal Greer, they found the answer to the dilemma.
The result of their efforts took place on Saturday at the Pine Plains Gym.
There, the 4-31 Family Readiness Group and MWR teamed up to organize a battalion pot-luck luncheon.
The event, free to Soldiers and their Family Members, presented an opportunity for Greene to meet and greet the Family Members.
“Holding this kind of event lets the commanders see all the Soldiers’ families at once,” said Greene. “An FRG is run at the company level, but we need a place to start.”
Greene continued to stress the importance of the FRG. “We want to send a message that the Soldiers are not alone. The Army is a family, and this event is the first step in this battalion coming closer as a family.”
While Soldiers and their Families ate lunch, most of which consisted of homemade dishes, desserts and snacks, Greene spoke to the families. He introduced himself with some amusing pictures and anecdotes from his past, then spoke about the importance of the FRG. The speech concluded with a brief slideshow on the battalion’s training schedule for the next year, which is slated to include a cadet-training mission for several weeks at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
To create a Family atmosphere, MWR provided numerous facilities for the children of the Soldiers, including two bounce rooms, an indoor paintball course, an indoor pool and a popcorn kiosk.
According to Greer, Pine Plains is not normally reserved for a battalion function.
“Pine Plains is usually only reserved for a brigade. 4-31 is only the third battalion we have closed Pine Plains for,” said Greer. “Lt. Col. Greene made a conscious decision (to organize an event) in the winter. He brings a lot of energy, and MWR fully supports such events.”
Greene publicly showed his appreciation the efforts of MWR.
“Mr. Greer couldn’t have provided more support. The battalions and brigades are in his debt. He’s very enthusiastic and will always say yes.”
Overall, the luncheon was a success.
“Any time we can get the Families together and have a good time, it is a success,” Greene said. “Today’s large turnout is one of those.”

No comments: