As submarine spouses, it’s all too easy to feel isolated, alone or lonely. Whether it be a series of short underways or the long haul deployment, we really have to take a lot on by ourselves. And usually, thousands of miles away from close friends and family. We don’t give ourselves enough credit, period.
But while this lifestyle has its ups and downs, there is a unique community to tap into: The Family Readiness Group (FRG).
The FRG is a volunteer organization associated with each command. The purpose of the FRG is to be a resource and support system for the families of sailors. The FRG, operated by spouse board members, also plans social functions, morale building events, and informational sessions with command leadership. The board consists of a President, Vice President, Treasurer and a Secretary elected by its members.
Here are just a few things FRGs do:
Every FRG maintains a private Facebook group, to help connect families. This is a great outlet to communicate with others and help plan fun outings or get togethers while the boat is out at sea. Board members also make a point to share any significant base news or updates you should know about. These pages are often secret so you cannot find them on a Facebook search. Connect with another spouse or email the FRG for an invite.
Every FRG is different, but most meet on a monthly basis at an off-site location. Spouses and family members of sailors are encouraged to attend to socialize with others and hear updates on the boat schedule. The meetings typically offer free childcare and dinner, with attendance by the Ombudsman, CO and Chief of the Boat (COB). In my experience, these meetings are typically more attended during deployments, but if you can you should try to show support and attend year-round.
Some FRGs like to get in the boat spirit and raise funds for their group, whether it be a bake sale or a t-shirt drive. Many local businesses love to partner with FRG groups, like mom and pop ice cream shops or restaurants. Funds can then be used for group outings or other moral-boosting events.
The FRG is a great resource for families. I encourage you to connect with yours! Click here to find the latest FRG handbook for more information regarding FRG structure and operational goals. Fleet and Family also provides excellent resources to train and support FRG board members.