New Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program helps military and families with deployments
By Maj. Don Traud, 452 AMW/PA
/ Published August 14, 2009
MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. --
"I didn't know that!"
That was the phrase most commonly heard during March's first Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event held in San Diego. Approximately 120 attendees were present during the two day program.
"This program is for you," said Brig. Gen James Melin, 452nd Air Mobility Wing commander. "The reality is that there are challenges before, during and after a deployment. It's not just physiological, it's worry, stress, financial, emotional and more. And it's not only military members; the spouses go through this too, in some ways, it's more difficult. We also need to remember that children are involved in the deployment process; they will have questions as well."
"The nation deeply appreciates what a military family does and goes through," said Gen. Melin.
This Congressionally mandated program was the country's way of acknowledging that gratitude. Unlike active duty where many families live on base, the Reserve and Guard families are community-based, in addition to being geographically dispersed. The Yellow Ribbon program is designed to help those citizen-soldier families cope with a variety of issues and provide various resources to those who are not near bases.
"I wish I knew some of this information a lot sooner," said Joann Heick, spouse of deployed Major Aaron Heick. "Military members get spun up for deployments; families need to get spun up too. This serves as a great starting point. I highly recommend it for all family members."
Whatever issues the military member or families faced, there was a representative at the Yellow Ribbon program who either provided counsel or resolved the concerns.