What to Expect When Sending a Red Cross Message to a Deployed Servicemember

Red Cross works helps a U.S. soldier in Balad, Iraq.
American Red Cross staffer Kirsten Kuykendall works with a soldier outside of the Red Cross office in Balad, Iraq. The Red Cross has a network of more than 1,500 offices around the world and thousands of volunteers. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.

Here's what you can expect to take place if an emergency arises and you need to send a Red Cross message to your deployed spouse or loved one.

Before calling your local Red Cross chapter make sure and have the following information handy: servicemember's rank, address (unit, company and location where he or she is stationed), social security number, and branch of service.

You'll also need to provide the Red Cross with the names and contact information of any professionals or facilities that are involved with your emergency.

For example, if a family member is has a medical emergency, you'll need to supply the Red Cross with the patient's name, servicemember's relationship to patient, patient's diagnosis, attending physician, name of hospital that's treating the patient, and accompanying phone numbers if you have them.

If there's been a death in the family you'll need to provide the Red Cross with the name and contact information of the funeral home in charge of the arrangements.

The relay process will begin shortly after the information you supplied is verified. Throughout each phase, a Red Cross representative will keep you updated on the status of your message as it travels through the appropriate channels on its way to your spouse's or loved one's command.