By Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy)
I write to you today about the rapidly changing situation in Japan. From the Pentagon, the Military Community & Family Policy team and I are staying keenly aware of the fluid conditions there. From our schools and child care centers to our commissaries and exchanges, our focus is the well-being of military families. We are taking proactive, deliberate action to stay well ahead of the dynamic and uncertain conditions in Japan, keeping your safety as our primary concern.
Providing families timely and meaningful information is always important, but it is monumentally so for our families living in the many cities and prefectures impacted by the tsunami. There are several places you can go for trusted information:
- MC&FP’s Facebook and Twitter pages for instant MC&FP family support updates.
- Your command or installation’s social media pages for local announcements and guidance.
- DoDEA’s Web site 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 Japan Special Report for official updates from the Department of Defense.
- The American Red Cross website for information on relief operations in Japan.
If you have no power, your installation’s family assistance center, crisis response center, or family support networks are also useful resources to consult.
There is an unmistakable bond between military families. From a Marine Reserve family living hundreds of miles from the nearest installation in the Midwest, to an Army family experiencing Army life for the first time at Fort Hood, to Air Force and Navy families stationed in Japan, we are one community. While we all may not be in Japan, I know our hearts and thoughts all certainly are.
This is not only the time to support and sustain each other; 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. We’ve launched a discussion for you to share your words of comfort and advice – if you have a “trick” or “tip” on how to keep your family strong during crisis, please let other families know. My hope is that this discussion will serve to harness the support and goodwill of our community and move us forward. Our strength comes from our community – each of us, all of us.
It is because of our resilience and our sense of community that we will overcome this most recent challenge. I never cease to be amazed at the unfailing love and support military families provide to one another. I look forward to your comments. Thank you all.