Family Readiness

USACE supports the U.S. Army across the spectrum of conflict: from overseas expeditionary missions to homeland defense to domestic humanitarian and disaster relief operations. USACE’s many employees contribute every day to this nation’s defense.

We recognize the sacrifices the employees make are shared by their families. It is our commitment to the families to make the deployments and time away from home just a little bit easier by providing useful and relevant information and resources.

Contact your local family readiness representative to get involved in family readiness activities.


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We understand the questions and concerns you may have regarding your deployment or your loved one’s deployment in support of the USACE mission.

To help you better prepare for a deployment, we have gathered various resources and tips. Impending deployments may be known far in advance or there may be a requirement for immediate departure. We encourage all members of the USACE family – Civilian employees, Soldiers, and Family members – to be prepared at all times. We live in an uncertain world and the Corps’ mission extends worldwide. Advance preparations for deployment will not lessen the deployment time, but it will bring peace of mind to all concerned – the deployee and his or her family members.

  1. Get a passport. You may need to visit your loved one overseas at a hospital or you may want to go on a trip!
  2. Have a family care plan if you have children at living at home.  Why, you ask, if there is a parent staying behind?  What if the parent needs to leave quickly for an emergency?  That’s not the time you want to start thinking about who is going to look after little Johnny.  And don’t forget about Fido the dog!

  3. Talk to your loved one. About what? Who in your family handles the finances, vehicle registrations, taxes, and all of the other mundane tasks of life? If the person remaining at home handles all of those tasks, then you’re good to go. But if it’s the deployee, you better start talking.
  4. Ensure your life insurance requirements are up-to-date. Not exactly a fun thing to do, but necessary.
  5. Think before you post.  There are so many great ways to communicate to anyone in the world about your life, your feelings, and anything else you care to share.  But not everybody needs to know everything and in this world of instant communication, do you really want everyone to find out your spouse is deployed and you’re home alone? 
  6. Know your loved one’s wishes in the event of catastrophic injury or death. Again, not exactly a fun topic, but, really, it’s something you always need to know.
  7. Plan for the reunion but don’t plan too much. It’s great to think about what will happen when your loved one returns and to make preparations ahead of time. Just keep in mind the unpredictable nature of the military. By keeping your expectations reasonable, you can help to avoid disappointment.
  8. Decide how you will stay in touch. Email is great – fast, easy, cheap. But what happens if you don’t get an email when you expect one. Is there a back up plan?
  9. Take a day to just be together for some special family time before the deployment. The memories of this day will go a long way to easing the separation.
  10. And finally, family members should do to prepare for a deployment: Know your local family readiness POC! He or she has a wealth of information to help you.
Handling deployment can be difficult if you’re not sure what to expect. This page picks up after the time that your loved one leaves for deployment.  Here we will give you ideas on how to cope throughout the time your loved one is gone, and how to stay connected.  As always, if you are having problems and need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact your local Family Readiness POC.

Tips for Coping with Deployment

  1. Take care of yourself!  Eating right, getting enough rest, and making time for exercise is extremely important.  Doing this will help prevent illness and injury, and will promote emotional health.
  2. Get involved.  Making time to volunteer, starting a new hobby, or getting involved in your local community can be a great way keep you busy and make you feel fulfilled.
  3. Talk about your feelings.  Everyone needs time to vent and get things off their chest.  During this time be sure to talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling.  This will also help them understand what you are going through.
  4. Make time for you.  Set aside a little time each day to do something that you truly enjoy.
  5. Recognize the signs of stress, evaluate your own state of stress, and know when to access your available resources and get some help.  See your local Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Coordinator for assistance.  Family members, if you don’t have the contact information for your EAP Coordinator, see your local Family Readiness POC for contact information. 

Ways to Stay Connected

  1. Write Letters –   Come on, admit it…everyone secretly loves receiving snail mail!
  2. E-mail – It’s a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to let someone know that you are thinking about them. 
  3. Video Chatting- It’s free – and what could be better than being able to see your loved one when they are away?!  (This feature is not available in all areas…have your loved one check if they are able to access it)
  4. Phone Calls- There is nothing like hearing the sound of your loved ones voice after a long day.  Be careful with this though…calls overseas can get pricey! 
  5. Instant Messaging- This is another fast, easy and inexpensive way to keep in touch.  Not all Instant Messaging programs are approved for use while deployed, but one that can always be accessed is AKO instant messaging.  To utilize this program, you must have an AKO account.
  6. Tape/Video Recording- This works especially well for keeping children connected.  Have the deployed parent tape themselves reading their child’s favorite story and play it to them before bedtime.
 Deployment Handbook

One of the main concerns during deployment is that Families are not sure what to expect.  We want to make sure that you are prepared and have helpful tools to get you through the deployment successfully.  On this page you will find several training modules on topics ranging from knowing what to expect after deployment to what works best for suicide prevention.   

We encourage you to complete these modules with the hope that after completion, you will be empowered with information and better able to cope with any situation that might arise. 

Emergency Preparedness
It is vitally important that you plan NOW for emergencies.  Natural disasters will continue to occur.  Violence, unfortunately, will continue to occur. 

So what do you do? 

  • Get a kit
  • Make a plan
  • Be informed

For more details visit

Operations Security
OPSEC is important because we live in a world increasingly dependent on information. In this world, pieces of information (internet postings, work schedules, phone directories and more) may be assembled in order to form the “big picture” of an organization or operation.  Family members need to be aware they need to be careful about what they post on the internet or say in the community. 

Resilience Training

Resilience training offers strength-based, positive psychology tools to aid Soldiers, Leaders, and Families in their ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and bounce back from adversity.  Check out the Family tab for modules in preparing for and managing the realities of the deployment and the transition back home.

Coping with Deployment

This American Red Cross online course teaches the meaning of resilience and what strategies you can practice to build your own and others’ resilience. (

 OPSEC-A Guide for Families and Friends
 USACE Family Readiness Resources Guide
The USACE Family Readiness Resources Guide provides a listing of resources that may come in handy during a deployment.  Some are specific to military members and their families, others for civilian employees and their family members.  There is a short description of each of the resources and a web link for further information.  Family Readiness Resources.docx
 Coming Home Handbook
 Problem Solving Skills

Moving Forward is a free, on-line educational and life coaching program that teaches Problem Solving skills to help you to better handle life’s challenges. It is designed to be especially helpful for Veterans, Military Service Members and their Families. However, Moving Forward teaches skills that can be useful to anyone with stressful problems.

 Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness
CSF2 is designed to build resilience and enhance performance of the Army Family -- Soldiers, their Families, and Army Civilians.  CSF2 does this by providing training and self-development tools so that members of the Army Family are better able to cope with adversity, perform better in stressful situations, and thrive in life.
 Casualty Assistance Handbook
This handbook is intended for U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Family Members whose Soldier or Department of the Army Civilian loved one is at possible risk to become a casualty. It is not meant to be a complete resource, but rather a guide for Families to follow when navigating the complex system of assistance and care available to them.