Yellow Ribbon programs helps in transition

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Stephen Montgomery
  • 115 FW Public Affairs
Phase one and two complete for deployed members of the 115th Security Forces Squadron who recently participated the Badger Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.

The program that the 115th members attended was held at the Olympic Resort and Spa in Oconomowoc, Wis., and is designed to help service members smoothly reintegrate back into their pre-deployment lives and inform them about resources available and benefits they have earned from being deployed.

"The transition back to civilian life is a major concern," said Lt. Col. Brian Buhler, commander of the 115th Security Forces Squadron. "The Yellow Ribbon Program is aware of, and recognizes the unique needs of members and their families and is there to listen and respond in a time of requested assistance."

The program was especially helpful to first-time deployers, many of whom have earned benefits which have not been available to them before.

"The reps that were available were very helpful and knowledgeable and gave me all the information I need, from service-connected injuries to education benefits," said Senior Airmen John Reuter. "After returning from my deployment, I knew I had new benefits as a veteran but had no idea what they were."

The program included seminars anger management and reconnecting with family and friends, and culminated with the participants meeting with representatives from various organizations such as Tricare, Military OneSource, and Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.

"It was a good chance to get any information on benefits from veterans all in one place," said Airman 1st Class Mike Swartz. "Being a college student, there are a lot of benefits I have earned and this weekend pointed all of them out to me."

The program consists of 30, 60, and 90-day post-deployment requirements with events being held across the state, at locations convenient to the service members attending.

Phase I is accomplished during the demobilization process and Phase II consists of events with both the service member and their family are made aware of the benefits entitled to them. Phase III is a follow-up for the service member to answer any questions, or deal with any situations that may not arise until the service member has been home for a while.

The Badger Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program is a congressionally mandated program whose job it is to organize all aspects of the event. The programs responsibility is to organize all aspects of the event from where it is being held and getting the representatives from the various organizations together, too taking care of the billeting and pay for those attending.