Among the many unsung heroes in
wartime are some that get nowhere near the shooting. Among this group would be
the troops that make up the Rear Detachment (of brigades shipped off to a
combat zone.) These are the people (about one percent of the brigade strength)
that are selected to stay behind and take care of the families, facilities and
equipment left behind. The Rear
Detachment spends most of their time looking after families, since a bit over
half of troops these days are married. Those families have their own
organization, the Family Readiness Group (FRG). The head of the FRG and
commander of the Rear Detachment work closely together, because the Rear
Detachment hasn't got a lot of manpower, and volunteers from the FRG are
essential to take care of all the little crises that can crop up.
The Rear Detachment also deals with rumor control.
The dependents are bombarded by what's in the media, and email from their
troops over there. The Rear Detachment plays a major role is helping those left
behind sort out the reality from the rumors.
The "Rear-Ds" also take care of memorial ceremonies
and making sure funerals go as smoothly as possible. This includes the most
difficult task of all, dealing with the family of a recently killed soldier. To
this end, and many others, the Rear Detachment maintains a 24/7 office, just
like the brigade does when it's in residence. There are some 10,000 dependents
and next of kin associated with the troops in the average brigade. At any given
time, some of them need some help from the Rear Detachment.
The Rear Detachment, as it now exists, is another
side effect of the all-volunteer army. By the 1980s, when brigades were sent
off somewhere, the Rear Detachment began to develop into what it is today.