By Tiffany Tran-Ozuna
Global Special Operations Forces (SOF) Foundation (GSOF) is advocating for a Child Development Center (CDC) to be built for 7th Group Special Forces families on their compound at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
The compound, Camp Bull Simons, is on the property of Eglin Air Force Base, but located about 45-minutes north of the main base in the city of Crestview. About 60% of the 7th Group community resides in the Crestview area.
The geographic locations of the two areas make it difficult for Army families to reasonably access the government-provided childcare, which is subsidized for families based on rank.
The first phase of the design plan was completed in September 2020. However, since the 7th Group compound is on Air Force property, a new childcare center would have to be approved by the appropriate military officials. The 96th Test Wing is the entity that oversees property at Eglin AFB.
Military families already face various hardships like frequent separations and spouse unemployment. The lack of accessible and affordable childcare puts unnecessary financial and emotional strain on service members and their families.
GSOF is recommending that the Air Force and the Army build a CDC on Camp Bull Simons that would accommodate at least 500 children. As of March 2022, 7th Group has 436 kids that are newborn to four-years-old. That number does not include the children from another Army unit, the 6th Ranger Training Battalion, also located in Northern Eglin.
GSOF is working with the office of Senator Marco Rubio to resolve this issue through Congress and the Secretary of the Army to ease the burden for 7th Group soldiers and families.
A virtual town hall is being held on Wednesday, April 20th at 6:30 p.m. CT. Soldiers and families will be sharing their experience with childcare issues and what a CDC on Camp Bull Simons would mean to their families.
Due to the nature of the special forces mission, media is invited to attend for educational and background purposes only. Please do not record or air the meeting, as the identity of the soldiers needs to remain private for their safety.
The President and CEO of GSOF, Col (Ret.) Stuart Bradin, and a 7th Group military spouse are available for interview. For a link to the town hall and contact information for the interviewees, please contact Chelsea Hamashin by phone (813) 486-7684 or email at email@example.com.
GSOF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that aims to build and grow an international network of military, government, commercial, and educational stakeholders in order to advance SOF capabilities and partnerships to confront global and networked threats.