Reintegration, resilience builds Soldiers, tightens bonds
January 31, 2012
Soldiers' toolboxes contain many items for them to do their jobs. The impact of their performance is far reaching and often goes unnoticed by the general public going through their days and lives.
The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) is a fairly new tool that Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers have to help them with their reintegration. During the past 10 years, more than 100,000 Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers have served in combat and experienced the stressors of war.
Recently, the highest ranking enlisted member of the U.S. armed forces visited a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event in Denver, Colo., to see what the event offers. These Soldiers and their families over this two-day period discuss reuniting, prevention techniques, and other valued resources.
"Much of the focus has been on exhausting every effort in providing the service member all the tools and capabilities so they are ready, relevant and capable of accomplishing their objectives and goals both on the battlefield and at home," said Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Deployments impacts families."
"The active force has the resources right there when they return. He added that the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program for a Reservist has to also serve as a transition program. Regardless of service component, reintegration brings a common denominator - challenges and stressors. "Our men and women need additional avenues and best practices to help adapt to a civilian lifestyle," the SEAC stressed.
The program began just over four years ago through the National Defense Authorization Act and it has benefitted tens of thousands of service members from all branches. It assists in dealing with prevention of suicide, domestic violence, alcohol and drug use and other interruptive areas that impact the health of the force and distract from good order.
"The program assists in providing services and helping reintegrate through education, awareness, resilience, and resources for both the family and the service member," the SEAC said. The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program also offers civilian employment and education counseling. Battaglia added, "But it's not a one size fits all program."
One recent venue program was held in Denver by the 88th Regional Support Command and offered support resources to nearly 800 Army Reserve Soldiers from across 37 states.
"With many deployments throughout my career, Lisa (SEAC's wife) and I continue to reintegrate. We understand the importance of resilience programs such as this and the needed resources to make a positive impact," the SEAC said.
The program doesn't begin when service members return from a deployment, but, rather before they leave and covers all the parts of the deployment cycle: (1) pre-deployment; (2) deployment; (3) demobilization; and (4) post-deployment-reconstitution (which consist of three tracks 30, 60, 90.) More importantly, reintegration does not cease upon the 90 day period marking the end of the YRRP agenda. "It's been 3 years since I redeployed, but, will tell you that Lisa and I still find ourselves mildly reintegrating in order to maintain a resilient lifestyle."