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Posted: June 8, 2018 3:12 p.m.
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Single, married Soldiers forum

Sgt. Elizabeth White/

Soldiers with Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade sit around a bonfire while eating s’mores during a single Soldier forum at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 29. The Soldiers discussed relationships and challenges of being single in the military.

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - The 3rd Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade held single and married Soldier forums to prepare them for reintegration upon redeployment.

“The purpose of the married forum was to provide marital tools and ideas on ways to reconnect with spouses when we get home,” said Capt. Victoria Cashio, the behavioral health officer with the 3rd Inf. Div. RSSB. “For the single Soldiers, it was a discussion about healthy relationships and challenges of being single in the military.”

On May 29, a small group of single Soldiers gathered around a bonfire to roast s’mores and talk about their experiences being single in the military. Cashio and the brigade and Special Troops Battalion chaplain assistants helped facilitate the event, and were able to offer their perspectives on the transition from being single to getting married.

“A couple of married individuals gave their perspectives,” Cashio said. “[We] tried to put a lot of thought into the event, with ideas and discussions people wanted to hear and offer each other, and get each other’s opinions.”

The Soldiers who attended the event were able to talk openly about their experiences while enjoying the relaxed nature of the forum.

“I enjoyed the scenery, the bonfire and s’mores while discussing our thoughts,” said Sgt. Kieara Hill, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company orderly room, STB, 3rd Inf. Div. RSSB. “I attended the event to hear other opinions and views about how they feel on being single and dating.”

While the singles event was more relaxed and open-ended, the married Soldier forum was more formal, with dinner and discussion at one of the dining facilities on Bagram.

Cashio helped lead the forum and talked to married individuals about their expectations going home to their spouses and gave them methods to navigate through reintegrating with their families.

“We gave them tools and ideas on ways to reconnect through reintegration, the honeymoon period and to normalcy,” she said. “We gave them something actionable to put the skills we taught them to work, such as a 20 questions-type game for spouses.”

“I learned that there are multiple ways to approach certain aspects of your marriage such as different love languages that you and your spouse wouldn’t have the same,” said Sgt. Caroline Robinson-Gray, the senior information technician with the 3rd Inf. Div. RSSB. “If we held a similar event in the rear I would want to attend it with my spouse.”

Whether it was tools to help reconnect with spouses or advice shared around a bonfire, the Soldiers were able to use each other’s experiences and gain valuable lessons for their personal lives.

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