Reservists tie deployment with family
By Capt. Denise Haeussler, 442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 03, 2015
ORLANDO, Florida -- Deployments are part of the military life, and can create hardships. Citizen Airmen lead a double, sometimes triple, life balancing their military and civilian life- which becomes extra challenging with a family. The Air Force Reserve has been running a program for the past seven years that helps with these challenges.
Approximately 20 Reservists with the 442d Fighter Wing from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, attended a Yellow Ribbon event in sunny Orlando, Florida March 27-29.
The program promotes the well-being of Reservists and their families by connecting them with resources before and after deployments of 90 days or longer. It began in 2008 following a congressional mandate for the Department of Defense to assist Reservists and National Guard members in maintaining resiliency as they transition between their military and civilian roles. Each year, the Air Force Reserve Command program trains 7,000 reservists and family members in education benefits, health care, retirement information and more.
"It's a fantastic way to reconnect with those close to you in a venue and a location that has plenty of activities, said Lt. Col. Lee Saugstad, a 442d FW A-10 Warthog pilot, and the wing Yellow Ribbon program manager for the unit. "It's simply a good-deal and you will come out knowing something you didn't know about the resources available to you and your family."
Throughout the two day event, many breakout sessions are offered to give the Reservists a gateway to reintegrate back to civilian life, and a time for the whole family to reconnect, and take the next step. Some of the breakouts offered cover deployments and employment - Getting and Keeping your Job, presented by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Interpersonal Problem Solving, It's a Family Affair, Resume Writing, the Courage to Care, and many others.
"It was an easy way to get a lot of information in a fun way," said Candice Mitchell, wife of Tech. Sgt. Caleb Mitchell, 442d FW Reclamation and Recovery shop. "We've tried other avenues to find what we were looking for, and came up empty. Here, it was brought to us in one place. Our only job was to walk around and enjoy ourselves."
Senior Airman Luke Morgan, with 442d FW Aviation Resource Management, brought his younger brother Derek.
"I've been to other Yellow Ribbon events, this is my second post deployment one," Morgan said. "I brought my older brother to the pre deployment one, and my younger sister to my first post deployment event. I wanted to experience the events offered with each of my siblings one on one."
"This event is awesome," said Derek Morgan, a sophomore at University of Central Missouri, and kid brother to Luke Morgan. "We are thankful to be able to get this time together with family."
Yellow Ribbon is an invaluable tool offered by the Air Force Reserve, said 442d FW Command Chief Master Sergeant Jim Nudd.
"With us not being active duty, it's great opportunity for Airmen to be able to integrate back to civilian life. It's proven to save lives and marriages," Nudd said.