Family Readiness Group Keeps New York Families Informed at Midpoint of Deployment
February 22, 2010
- Families of the 206th MP Company attend a mid-deployment family readiness program.
- The meeting marks the mid-point of the tour
- The goal is to answer questions about the homecoming
Latham, N.Y.-Families of the New York Army National Guard's 206th Military Police Co. marked the mid-point of their Soldiers deployment to Iraq, Saturday Feb. 20, with a meeting designed to let them know what happens when their loved one returns.
The Family Readiness Group meeting is part of the New York Army National Guard's Project Yellow Ribbon which provides redeploying Soldiers and families a robust support network of information and services available from county, state, federal and private outreach organizations upon their return home.
Gordon Lattey, FRG, and lead volunteer for the 206th MP Co., said that today's yellow ribbon program marks the midpoint of the deployment, so now the families know that are on the downhill side, and their Soldiers will be coming home soon.
"A lot of things come into play and we want the families to be aware that once their Soldier comes back, there will be changes in the amount of benefits they receive," Lattey said.
"Also, we want them to be ready for a different person coming home, the person that left last August has changed, and it's important for the families to hear that and recognize that, so they will adjust their thinking as well," he added.
Families of Soldiers from the newly deployed 1108th Explosive Ordnance Co. also attended the event.
"I am here for the Family readiness mid-deployment briefing designed to support and educate families on anything that is currently happening, and to be sure that we are supported with an awareness of the different programs that are available to us if we need any support," stated Theresa Martel, wife of 1st Sgt. Joseph A. Martel, 206th MP Co., currently in Basra, Iraq.
The Yellow Ribbon reintegration program was established under the 2008 National Defense Act. The program is to prepare service members and their families for deployment, and service members through deployment and help them reintegrate back into their civilian communities when they return.
"A lot of things come into play and we want the families to be aware that once their Soldier comes back, there will be changes in the amount of benefits they receive," Lattey said. . "Also, we want them to be ready for a different person coming home, the person that left last August has changed, and it's important for the families to hear that and recognize that, so they will adjust their thinking as well."
The commander of the 206th MP Co., Capt. Kevin Manion, home on leave from Iraq, added that the yellow ribbon program encompasses the entire deployment, from pre-mobilization, where the State Family readiness group was able to bring in groups that can assist families with mobilization.
"If my Soldiers know that their families are provided for when they are deployed, and they are in positive spirits and their problems are solved, they can focus more on their mission, which puts them at ease, more focused therefore much safer," Manion said. "Today is a mid tour meeting, kind of face to face meet, and to start the preparations for the reunion in a few months with their Soldier."
The 206th MP CO., is scheduled to return home to their families in the near future and the next step in the yellow ribbon program requires Soldiers to be present for paid assembles at 30 and 60 days after their return from a combat zone, and invite families to attend as well. Sessions are held in a non-threatening, non-military environment, to provide Soldiers and families a chance to share experiences and talk with each other about their experiences.
The New York Army National Guard's goal is to integrate Soldiers, their families, and the Soldiers units back into life here in N.Y. following service in a war zone.
"The yellow ribbon program takes cares of the needs of the families here at home, and the needs of the guys and gals in Iraq," Lattey stated. "It's that simple".