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Discuss "First Op Tour - What You Should Know" in Partners - Wives, Girlfriends, Boyfriends, Husbands on Rear Party; Married and Unmarried Partners What you Need To Know If your partner is being deployed for the first time in your relationship, you may be uncertain of what information you need, or who to contact ...
  
  1. #1
    Moderator blessed_baby_cakes's Avatar
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    "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"


    Married and Unmarried Partners What you Need To Know


    If your partner is being deployed for the first time in your relationship, you may be uncertain of what information you need, or who to contact about your partner’s status in emergencies.

    Here are some things you need to know, in order to preserve your sanity during this time! Your partner can provide #1 and #2, so it’s a good idea (if a bit uncomfortable) to sit down and discuss these things before he or she leaves.


    1) The name and contact info of his or her Unit Welfare Officer (also known as the Families Officer). This is the key person to guide you in your quest for information; it’s the Welfare Officer’s job to assist you.

    2) The name and contact information of his Next of Kin (NOK), if your soldier has not changed his or her docs to reflect your name yet. This is usually his or her parents. Your soldier can also list you as an “additional nominee” for NOK, if he or she does not wish to remove their parents’ names.

    3) For information on sending “blueys” and “e-blueys” (or methods for communicating in writing with your partner while he or she is away) as well as sending parcels, visit http//www.bfpo.mod.uk.



    The Welfare Officer can also provide inquiring partners with packets of information about the kind of thing their S.O.s will be doing, and information about social gatherings (more so overseas than in the U.K.).

    Moreover, the Welfare Officer is your point person for information about incidents during operations.

    Unfortunately, the way most of us first hear about incidents these days is on the news. If an incident is reported that might involve your partner’s unit, please try to remember the following


    1) DON’T listen to rumours. Listen to what the Welfare Officer says. He or she is the only person that is qualified and authorised to give out information.

    2) If there have been casualties, you may not get any information from the Welfare Officer at all until the NOKs have been notified. Also, the NOKs are generally told within 24 hours (or as soon as they can be located). If you have heard nothing in that time, then you can probably breathe just a bit easier.

    3) If you have been calling your partner on a mobile number, DON'T call immediately to find out what happened. Mobile calls are restricted by the unit if a major incident has occurred, and you'll only succeed in jamming the line and frustrating yourself.

    Land lines and Internet access will be shut down as well. Wait for them to contact you, as there is no way of knowing how long restricted comms will be in place. If your soldier is OK, they’ll get in touch with you. (Tough advice, I know, but doing nothing may be better than doing something in this case.)



    Don’t forget You’re allowed to ask questions, and the Welfare Officer is there to help your SO. Which includes helping you at critical times!


    Advice for Unmarried Partners

    If you are an unmarried partner, with or without children, there are some aspects about your situation that it’s important to understand


    1) The Army does NOT consider you a “non-entity” just because you and your significant other are not married. The Army family organisations exist to help everyone who supports and loves a British soldier.

    2) Realistically, it is important to recognise that the Army is not legally bound to recognise unmarried partners, either straight or gay. But this does not mean you cannot be part of the information tree if you and your partner have laid the groundwork. If your partner can give your “unofficial” information to the Welfare Officer before leaving, this will help the process.

    3) If you have not met your partner’s NOK yet, it could present some potential awkwardness should you need to contact them at a critical time. However, in our opinion, this is information that every partner should have; if your partner doesn’t want to provide it to you, well, that’s another discussion entirely.

    4) If your soldier lists you as an “additional nominee” for NOK, you may not be the first person notified if something is wrong. But at least you’ll be on the record somewhere. And any Welfare Officer worth their salt will extend themselves to include you when necessary…they have usually been commissioned from the ranks, and know what the average soldier is going through.

    5) Remember, as long as your S.O. has made it known to the Welfare Officer that they wish to include you, he or she is your first and best resource for information.


    With Much Thanks To TankiesYank

    Questions on the above text can be added here, however as they are answered the text WILL be altered and grow. The original question will then be deleted to keep this thread short and the information easily available.

    PLEASE NOTE I WILL HACK AWAY AT THIS THREAD AND ALL THANKS AND SUCH WILL GO 'PUFF' AND BE GONE.... ONLY POST REQUESTS FOR INFO AND SUCH, IF RELEVANT OR OF USE THEY WILL APPEAR HERE WITH THE GENERAL INFO TO ENABLE EASY ACCESS.


    Beebs x

    Quote Originally Posted by bossyboots
    Additionally, if your not married to your partner, you can still be named as NOK and instructions can be left that you are to be informed first in the event of death or accident.
    Further to the hoax calls informing Next of Kin that their loved one had been involved in an incident...

    Quote Originally Posted by TankiesYank
    Quote Originally Posted by blessed_baby_cakes

    The Ministry said no way. It's their job to get the information to people and anyone in the loop would know better than to cold call anyone.

    Beebs x
    And here's roughly how it happens, according to my welfare sources:

    In the event of a casualty, the Joint Compassionate Cell, a central 24/7 body of the MoD in London, is informed through the Chain of Command almost immediately. This group notifies the Casualty Visiting Officer in the area of the Next of Kin, who gets the details together and visits them in person. The Casualty Visiting Officer is usually accompanied by a police officer to clear up concerns about hoaxes, and a SSAFA rep (usually with some counseling skills).

    I believe that the police unobtrusively check first to see if the Next of Kin are in, for the visit.

    As stated above, the Next of Kin would never be notified over the phone by the Army. Yes, it has unofficially happened...someone with a mobile phone serving with the soldier in question (also a friend) has apparently called to offer his condolences before the family was notified.

    Obviously one of the reasons the Army is so uptight about controlling comms from the area, and a point that I feel is important to make in the interest of reality and reminding people why the rules exist.

    Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to stop someone-with-phone syndrome. But the official notification would come from the Casualty Visiting Officer, in person.
    Site cynic...... say what you like, I'll translate it for you.


  2. #2
    Senior Member soroban's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Fabulous post beebs!

    Not mine, TankiesYanks work.....Beebs

    Not sure if it should be an add to this one or a seperate post but could I ask you to consider relevant info for the partners (and wider family) of TA Personnel who have been mobilised.

    Have PM'd Saxybabe requesting her input on this.....Beebs

    I know that one of the MODs is in this position right now - along with more than a few site members - and another MOD (who is very close to me ) ran Welfare for sveral dozen Sqn families during TELICS I & II so there should be plenty of good advice available.

    But still a fabulous post. I'm well impressed.

  3. #3
    Senior Member GM_1000's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Quote Originally Posted by soroban
    could I ask you to consider relevant info for the partners (and wider family) of TA Personnel who have been mobilised
    Ditto - being new to the whole military thing I don't know whether the (excellent) advice given above also applies to TA sig others (I nearly said "wives" - jumping the gun a bit, lol!) - can anyone help me out on this? E.g. who do I get in touch with if I hear that something's kicked off over there? Any info greatly appreciated.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Saxybabe's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    GM_1000

    The single best contact for any TA OHs has to be the PSAO (Permanent Staff Administration Officer) from your OH's TA Centre.

    In our case we made sure all the families had his direct phone number plus mine and the Sqn Sgt Maj's wife. Self and Mrs SSM worked as a "tag-team" and both had the PSAO on speed-dial because it seemed to be us who got the calls first - at least to begin.

    The surprise was that it wasn't just wives and GFs but mums and dads who were phoning us as well. And it was also the case that the Powers That Be were getting information back from us - especially when the troops got their mobile phones back and we could get a text from Basra faster than an official communication could make it through.

    I hope this is of help

    Saxy xx
    I try to take one day at a time -- but sometimes several days attack me at once

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    Senior Member FuNkYQueenBrit's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Thank You for this Information ... I am a unmarried partner but hes told me I am on the papers to be notified if anything should happen to him .. so I guess I am his additional next of kin (also we get married next year) .. I am finding this deployment malarky hard going ... he told me hed call on Sundays and didnt last night ... I was invited to a party but declined cos I was waiting by the phone. When he didnt call I was gutted. But I do know its hard on him to keep a routine up ... altho last night and this afternoon I couldnt see that. Sent him a ebluey telling him how I felt ... But then sent him another one saying sorry cos I had time to think. lol told ya I aint doing very well lol. Hes home next month for R&R and I cant wait ... thing is he may go awol cos I may not be able to let him go lol
    Anyway ... Thank You again for the info

  6. #6
    Senior Member Elsie_Tanner's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    FuNkyQueenBrit -

    After 11 years and numerous tours I still find myself waiting in by the phone for the first few weeks.

    Last year Mr E_T was in Iraq and after about 3 weeks of waiting in and not using the phone in case he called I decided enough was enough and got on with life. Needless to say the first night I wasnt in was the night he phoned! He left a message and sounded gutted, and I later found out he had queued for about an hour to call and got the machine.

    I dont know where I am going with this, it probably isn't helping too much! I just wanted to say that what you are going through is really normal and that you have to force yourself to get on with life.

    It is true that routine really helps.

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    Senior Member Goatman's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Quote Originally Posted by Elsie_Tanner
    He left a message and sounded gutted, and I later found out he had queued for about an hour to call and got the machine.
    umm...not sure if I should be posting here....but, well, hey!

    I read the dit above and thought
    ' Coo! That sounds familiar ! '

    If you Significant Others think its weird at home, well it's pretty weird for the guy who's making the call too......you're at home maybe staring out the window at a grey English sky....because of the time difference, where he is its pitch dark and HOT...or the ship is moving about and some garlic-munching monosyllabic chef has been in there for half an hour boring the pants off his mum.....and twenty minutes a week is pretty damn short....you wind up not knowing what to say that you haven't written in a bluey that week....and if, with the best will in the world, your distant partner starts having a pop about the troubles she's enduring there is VERY LITTLE you can do about it 'cos you're 3,000 miles away.....and do you know what the WORST thing is ?....taking the time to book the satphone and going for a wander in the dark ANYWHERE out of earshot of the guy on stag...or queue up for the booth , you get through and blow me down you end up having a ROW..... ...and you think ' blimey, I could have done that at home'.....

    Ahem....sorry ladies.....I'm out now so Mrs Goat will never again have to endure all that worrisome stuff......good luck to all those 'hanging on the telephone ' !

    Le Chevre
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  8. #8
    Moderator blessed_baby_cakes's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    This from scared_fiance

    Hi,my fiance is in the TA. She may be going on tour (her first) next year, and we will know for definate over the next month or so. I may be pre-empting things a bit, but i'm wondering how i will keep in touch with her while she is out there.

    She wont be out in the field if she goes and will be based in a big camp. How often will i be able to talk to her on the phone and for how long? And can she get on the internet to talk on msn and things like that?

    Thanks
    Any help from those in the know please.

    Beebs x
    Site cynic...... say what you like, I'll translate it for you.


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    Senior Member JayJo's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    I spoke to bunch of TA guys who had just come back from Iraq last year and they said they were able to speak to their wives/girlfriend every day if they wanted. I'm a bit rusty on the exact figures but I think they were allocated 20 mins a week but could buy extra phone cards from the Naafi for 10 bucks for about 30 mins (maybe more). They could also email every day if they booked in quickly. I'm about to go through my first experience of a tour (my OH is off to Afghanistan) and I'm told that e-blueys are the way ahead for filling them in on all the day to day stuff so they can spend their precious email time writing emails instead of reading them. Hope this is of some help - there are some veterans on here who will be able to tell you a lot more.

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    Senior Member Goatman's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Quote Originally Posted by blessed_baby_cakes
    This from scared_fiance

    Hi,my fiance is in the TA. She may be going on tour (her first) next year, and we will know for definate over the next month or so. I may be pre-empting things a bit, but i'm wondering how i will keep in touch with her while she is out there.

    She wont be out in the field if she goes and will be based in a big camp. How often will i be able to talk to her on the phone and for how long? And can she get on the internet to talk on msn and things like that?

    Thanks
    Any help from those in the know please.

    Beebs x
    If she's in Iraq in somewhere like Shaibah Log Base/Umm Qasr then she'll be able to access the Web so you should be able to keep in touch / maybe MSN via Hotmail etc.

    My experience is 3 years outta date. Not sure what the facilities in 'Stan are like.

    Worth checking in the Naafi over on ARRSE for someone who's been out recently. Depends what theatre ?

    Le Chevre
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  11. #11
    Senior Member TankiesYank's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Quote Originally Posted by JayJo
    I spoke to bunch of TA guys who had just come back from Iraq last year and they said they were able to speak to their wives/girlfriend every day if they wanted. I'm a bit rusty on the exact figures but I think they were allocated 20 mins a week but could buy extra phone cards from the Naafi for 10 bucks for about 30 mins (maybe more). They could also email every day if they booked in quickly. I'm about to go through my first experience of a tour (my OH is off to Afghanistan) and I'm told that e-blueys are the way ahead for filling them in on all the day to day stuff so they can spend their precious email time writing emails instead of reading them. Hope this is of some help - there are some veterans on here who will be able to tell you a lot more.
    Hi all,

    I have checked in on the phone time and the above is pretty much correct!

    - 20 minutes free time back to the UK or Germany a week. (Fiji, Zimbabwe or other Commonwealth countries are probably the same thing but I'm still checking!)

    - Phone card availability may depend on whether or not their unit has a Paradigm link (the company that hosts the lines).

    If there is no Paradigm link because the location is too remote, then there will be some means of calling for their 20-minute allocation. But they may not be able to get additional time...it all depends on the unit.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Goatman's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Piece on what the Army Families federation had to say to the big cheeses in Soldier mag - here y'go:

    http://www.soldiermagazine.co.uk/mag/feature6.htm


    ( link dies at the end of each month - I'll copy the text here if req'd)

    G'Man
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  13. #13
    Junior Member angelslayer's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    This link is brilliant!!! thank you. My SO (although not together) is off at end of year and my mind is already going with the - willI get to know (god forbid) anything happens etc........ the posting was so reassuring (PS finger's crossed he is planning to be with me ie living with me before he goes - I can live in hope

    He put me onto this site and I'll always be grateful. Not being on a base (he's TA) and not knowing this side of life before I have no-one in my circle of friends to turn to for this kind of thing.

    Okay, gonna show my ignorance even further - what's an e-bluey???

    If you need to laugh at the above then feel free

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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    http://www.bfpo.mod.uk/ebluey_home.htm

    Like an email but he gets a printed version delivered to him. Much quicker than a normal letter and you can put photos on them as well.

    Probably a good idea to set up the account with his address before he goes as it can be a bit confusing for us military virgins.

    Good luck with everything

  15. #15
    Junior Member angelslayer's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Thanks for that - I will make sure I do

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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Think it's all covered on this thread: http://www.rearparty.co.uk/cpgn2/For...ic/t=1904.html

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    Junior Member kelbag's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Quote Originally Posted by Goatman
    If you Significant Others think its weird at home, well it's pretty weird for the guy who's making the call too......you're at home maybe staring out the window at a grey English sky....because of the time difference, where he is its pitch dark and HOT...or the ship is moving about and some garlic-munching monosyllabic chef has been in there for half an hour boring the pants off his mum.....and twenty minutes a week is pretty damn short....you wind up not knowing what to say that you haven't written in a bluey that week....and if, with the best will in the world, your distant partner starts having a pop about the troubles she's enduring there is VERY LITTLE you can do about it 'cos you're 3,000 miles away.....
    Goatman, fantastic post!! I've wondered what hardships and other squaddies my fella's had to climb over to get to a phone. Now I know and it helps me a great deal. First tour as a S.O. so am finding it a bit weird mind you he was in Iraq when we met up on that oh so famous dating site so I should have known what to expect.

  18. #18
    Member wigglywoo's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    This board is so useful. Wish I'd found it sooner!!

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    Senior Member bootifull's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    bump
    Mimi: "I'm a fat f*ck. I'm a f*cking fat f*cker".

  20. #20
    Junior Member Elisew's Avatar
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    Re: "First Op Tour - What You Should Know"

    Hi,
    I`m new to the forums but as a wife who`s Hubby has just deployed for the first time since we married, I`d like to say thankyou for the information that has been posted here. Feeling as I do at the moment about everything is difficult enough but having some good tips and info does help.

    Thanks again
    Lisa xx

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