Local News

Army Survey Hopes To Improve Life For Military Families

Posted April 26, 2001 9:15 a.m. EDT

— Every family has concerns and needs. For a military family in an unfamiliar place, the needs can be even greater. Now, the Army wants to know what it can do to help.

"The thesis is to allow information to flow. I think it's very important," saysLieutenant General Dan McNeill.

"By giving the family a voice, it makes them feel a part of this organization, which [is something] we try hard to do," adds his wife, Maureen.

The survey was sent to 20,000 randomly selected military spouses. It is a long questionnaire, and takes about an hour to fill out. It asks about everything from finances to healthcare in an effort to improve family life.

Nancy Sawyer sent her survey in. Her perspective is as both a retired soldier and now a military wife.

"My number one concern was the tricare system," she says.

"I've talked to so many people who are waiting six to seven months to get money back from a tricare claim, they're young with kids, and this is money that comes off of their food table," Sawyer says.

A similar survey was sent out three times before. The Army Family Team Building Program is a direct result of the 1991

questionnaire. Spouses said they needed support when their loved ones were deployed.

"You are going to have to learn the dynamics of children, loneliness, stress, all that can happen," says Tahirih Kraft, who is assigned to the program.

Other questions in the survey ask about housing, childcare and relocation services. The Army hopes it will learn enough to help shape future Army family life.