I have been home over a week and I'm just now getting around to posting this...sad I know. But I have been crazy busy (I know I always say that too).
So some of you may be asking what the heck is AUSA? I was going to try to explain but instead I'm just going to link you to their page that will explain it better than I ever could. Every year they hold a conference and for the past couple years they have attached some Family Readiness Group Leader training to it. Both on the FORSCOM side of the house and TRADOC side of the house. I have been wanting to go for the past 2 years and for various reasons have not been able to. When I took over as FRG Leader for this unit, one of the first questions I asked was "can I go to the AUSA conference?". I have had so many friends go and come back raving about it. Well this year was my year. I had a great time!
I have to be honest, I personally did not get a whole lot out of the FRG leader training but that's not a bad thing. On the installation I live on, I teach a lot of the training. I don't know everything but what this training did was validate that what we are doing here on FLW is the right thing and that makes me feel pretty good. We were lucky enough to hear from some of our amazing Army Leadership and some awesome Army wives who have served beside their husbands for decades. Honestly that was probably the best part of the trip for me was listening to these seasoned spouses share their experiences and knowing that it's no different for them than it is for me. (I even said that in an interview I had with SpouseBuzz, check it out here, and yes I know I'm a dork!)
I got to go to some awesome exhibits and get lots of information to bring back to family members and the Soldiers. Seriously I picked up so much stuff I had to buy a new suitcase to bring it back!
While I was in Washington DC, I got to meet up with many friends from duty stations past. It was quite comical as I was traveling with six other FRG leaders from FLW. As I walked into the hotel I ran into someone I knew. After that it was almost constant of me running into people. The other girls in my group just chuckled at me and asked if there was anyone I didn't know. It was great seeing so many people from all over though. I even saw CSM Ciotola, who I just think is one amazing man and leader. He even remembered me from Fort Hood.
Aside from seeing friends from duty stations past, the highlight for me was going to visit Arlington. Humbled doesn't even describe my emotions. We watched the changing of the Guard and then we were all going to leave when the FORSCOM Commander and Command Sergeant Major and their wives came out and helped in a Wreath Ceremony. When the Sergeant of the Guard announced who the wreath was being placed for all you heard was quiet sobbing. They laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for all US Army Family Readiness Group Leaders. What an honor.
There is so much I want to say about my time there and so much I want to share. I think over the next few weeks I will share some key highlights from training.
Oh! I ate a lot while there, lol. I was brave and tried different cuisines but I think my favorite meal was dinner the night before we left.
I will put together a slideshow of pictures (I mean I only took hundreds) and like I said earlier, post highlights in the coming weeks. It was a great time and I definitely encourage anyone who might have the chance to go and attend, it's worth your time!