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Air Force, Army, Navy family services expand for new joint base

JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (AFNS) -- Family services members here will expand to support Air Force, Army and Navy personnel and their dependents as Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst moves toward full operational capability Oct. 1.

The Airman and Family Readiness Center at McGuire, along with Navy Fleet and Family Services and Army Community Services will merge into one organization with a new title of Warfighter and Family Readiness Center. 

The Warfighter and Family Readiness Center will adopt the best practice from any of the three services to support the health, welfare and mission readiness of servicemembers and their families.

"Air Force, Army and Navy family readiness centers have built a reputation of providing exceptional customer service and activities, which will not change," said Don Divis, the 87th Force Support Squadron flight chief. "All three centers have actually worked closely together for years; joint basing opportunities have just placed these great programs and professionals under one leader."

All three family readiness center locations can now be used by military members regardless of their branch of service. Customers will also have the opportunity to register for any available activity, class or program sponsored by any of the center's for which they qualify.

Such programs include Hearts Apart for families of those deployed, Bundles for Babies for expectant parents, Transition Assistance Program for servicemembers separating and retiring, and several career-service programs are available to all Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst families.

In addition to programs the Warfighter and Family Readiness Center offers, the 87th Medical Group Family Advocacy Program staff at McGuire will also gain strength as Oct. 1 approaches.

"Family advocacy will continue to sustain, support and provide services for the psychological and emotional health of the new joint base community," said Melodye Giovanni, the family advocacy outreach manager. McGuire, Fort Dix and Lakehurst family advocacy will become one program under the 87th MDG -- combining staff from all three offices.

Family advocacy will continue to offer preventive domestic violence services, stress management classes, parent support programs and more to all servicemembers.

"Mission and family life are closely connected. When issues surface in either area, both are affected," Ms. Giovanni said. "Well-adjusted families and servicemembers can have a positive effect on the mission. It takes a lot to win a war, and family support programs do make a difference in that effort."

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