Readiness officer guides families through rigors of military life

CAMP PENDLETON — Military life can be one of the hardest things to understand for the family of a service member. To help navigate through the countless acronyms, confusing jargon and ever-changing deployment schedules, the Marine Corps has designated a family readiness officer as the point of contact to the Marine or sailor’s loved one, to aid in the understanding of the organization.
Audrey Hooper is the Family Readiness Officer (FRO) for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Command Element (CE). A military wife herself, Audrey has first-hand experience with the rigors of military life and that has helped make her successful as the unit’s FRO.
“It’s easier to live (military life) when you understand it,” Hooper said . “If a family member is informed of what’s going on it will help them better cope with a deployment or a situation where their Marine or sailor is away.”
Camp Pendleton, being one of the largest military bases in the country, hosts several different family events for its service members. Hooper is one of the first to hear about these events, and passes it along to family members.
“I also plan the different family days for the MEU hosts to help bring everyone together,” Hooper said. “The events happen both while the unit is here and also when they are deployed. I try to have the spouses meet each other and build a support system while their Marines or sailors are away.”
In addition, Hooper has extensive knowledge of all of the different resources throughout the base and the surrounding communities available to Marines, sailors and their families. Many times people are unaware of the programs that can really help military families in a time of need.
Her goal is to ensure that family members know what their Marines and sailors are doing while deployed, and that those same service members can rest assured knowing their family members are informed.
“Many spouses are self-sufficient and over the years have developed their own support group,” said Hooper. “However, there are many young wives new to the military lifestyle, that don’t know what is available. We try and take care of our spouses as well as our Marines and sailors.”
“I want spouses and families to know if they are ever in a situation where they don’t know what to do, they can always call me. I might not always know the answer but I know where to look.”
Audrey Hooper is available to all family members anytime, night and day at (760) 429-5385 or by e-mail at audrey.hooper@usmc.mil.

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