Information for Army Leaders:
Leaders at all levels must ensure Survivors are not forgotten and remain part of the Army Family for as long as they desire. Survivors tell us that one of the greatest challenges they face in their grief journey is rebuilding resiliency as they transition to their new normal. A huge help in the resiliency building process for Survivors is the reassurance that their loved one will never be forgotten and that they still maintain their link to the Army culture. Your involvement with Survivor Outreach Services will be an important resource as you honor and remember not only your Fallen, but their Survivors as well. Your Survivor Outreach Services team is available to advise you on ways to include Survivors in your unit functions, maintain a book of Fallen Heroes, and how best to honor and support Surviving Families at other recognition events, programs and activities. Knowing your Survivor Outreach Services team and how they can help will also be very beneficial should you experience any future losses. They are on hand to brief you, your unit, Family Readiness Groups, and Care Teams as necessary. Please get to know them.
Authorization to Fly the Gold Star Service Flag on Army Installation Flagpoles
On 4 November 2014, LTG James McConville, the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, granted authority to installation commanders to display the Gold Star Service flag beneath the US flag on Army installation flagpoles during installation hosted or designated Survivor recognition days. This initiative is in support of the Chief of Staff of the Army's Gold Star Education Campaign to bring awareness to the service and sacrifice of America's Fallen.
Installation commanders may display the flag from 4 November 2014 through 28 February 2015 and on designated dates thereafter (Gold Star Mothers Day, Gold Star Wives Day, and other Survivor recognition days as determined by the installation commander). Only one flag is authorized to be flown below the US flag, and when flown, must be approximately six inches below the US flag. This authorization is granted as an exception to Army Regulation 840-10, Flags Guidons, Streamers, Tabards, and Automobile and Aircraft Plates, 1 November 1998, which states that the US flag is the only flag that may be flown over a CONUS Army installation.
A brief educational overview of the Army Survivor Outreach Services Program.
There is no cause greater than taking care of those who have lost a Soldier in service to our Nation. Families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice deserve our respect, gratitude and the very best we can provide. The Army made a commitment to Families to provide long-term support to Survivors of the Fallen (regardless of cause or location). The Army-wide program includes the United States Army Reserve (USAR) and Army National Guard (ARNG) and provides dedicated and comprehensive support services to Survivors of the Fallen. The purpose of Survivor Outreach Services is to deliver on that commitment:
- By providing access to support, information and services in a caring, compassionate and empathetic manner
- Closest location to where the Survivor resides and
- When and for as long as they desire
Survivor Outreach Services (SOS) mission is to build a unified program which embraces and reassures Survivors that they will be continually linked to the Army Family for as long as they desire.
Survivor Outreach Services provides support to surviving Family members of Soldiers who died on Active Duty including, Army National Guard M-Day Soldiers, Troop Patrol Unit Army Reserve members and those who are designated as Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA). Survivors are not only primary and secondary next-of-kin, but may include other Family members and even unrelated loved ones such as fiancés. Survivors will remain part of the Army Family and are welcome at Army Community Service and ARNG and USAR SOS support offices to receive authorized assistance for as long as they desire. The Army Survivor Outreach Services Program also assists Survivors from other military Services and connects them to their Service's Casualty Assistance points of contact.
The Army Survivor Outreach Services Program enhances support to Survivors through specially trained Benefits Coordinators, Support Coordinators and Financial Counselors.
The Benefits Coordinator located at the Casualty Assistance Center supports Survivors in establishing benefits which they may be entitled to as a Survivor. They assist Survivors in completing paperwork and coordinating services with the various agencies they will encounter such as, the Army, Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs. They have a wealth of knowledge and are very helpful in assisting Survivors when applying for benefits.
Support Coordinators at Survivor Outreach Services provide the long-term support Survivors need while keeping them linked to the Army Family for as long as they desire. Support Coordinators also connect Survivors to support groups, grief and bereavement counselors, provide benefits milestone management, request copies of documents and offer information and referral services while providing Survivors a safe and compassionate environment to experience their own unique grief.
In times of emotional distress, figuring out what to do about finances can create a heavy burden. Survivor Outreach Services Financial Counselors provide education on investing, estate planning, tax issues and basic budgeting. Financial Counselors are there when Survivors need them, for as long as they need them. Our counselors are committed to assisting Survivors in creating financial success and ensuring they are provided information necessary to make sound decisions.
In summary, Survivor Outreach Services seeks to improve and expand Survivor assistance programs and services through a holistic, multi-agency and multi-component approach. Survivor Outreach Services is a "Total" Army program that has been expanded and strengthened to ensure the Army's promise of enduring support to Survivors for as long as they desire. The Survivor Outreach Services framework addresses issues regarding staffing, standardized training, long-term support, benefits and entitlements and provide a single portal for information. Survivors are supported closest to where they reside, regardless of Army component. Support Coordinators and Financial Counselors provide common levels of service and communicate regularly to ensure that Survivors are supported whether they live near an installation, or are geographically dispersed. Survivor Outreach Services provides long term Family case management and support services and is integral to the Army's casualty notification and support system.