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Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program reaches Arizona families

Tech. Sgt. Steve Heimbach, a maintainer with the 162nd Fighter Wing, is welcomed home by family and friends after a deployment to Iraq, July 1.  Wing families will soon benefit from the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program which is intended to ease pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment issues for military families.  (Air Force photo by Barb Gavre)

Tech. Sgt. Steve Heimbach, a maintainer with the 162nd Fighter Wing, is welcomed home by family and friends after a deployment to Iraq, July 1. Wing families will soon benefit from the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program which is intended to ease pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment issues for military families. (Air Force photo by Barb Gavre)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, a new deployment support service for military members and families, will hold its first event here Aug. 21 and 22 at a local resort for members of the 162nd Fighter Wing and their families.

The program fulfills the requirement of establishing a national combat veteran reintegration program. Its goal is to prepare servicemembers and their families for mobilization, sustain families during mobilization, and reintegrate Airmen with their families, communities, and employers upon redeployment.

"[Post-traumatic stress disorder], the specter of suicides and all sorts of things have told us that it's critical to make sure that our troops and their families are readjusting properly," said Thomas F. Hall, former assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. "We recognized that when ... active Guard and Reserve [servicemembers] go off to conflict and come back, and then demobilize or go back to their home base, it's really necessary that they get back together with their families and have a chance at a 30-, and a 60-, and a 90-day point to talk about their experiences, to see if everything's going OK."

The Yellow Ribbon program helps Airmen and their families navigate through the numerous Department of Defense (DoD), Veterans Affairs and state systems to ensure they receive information and assistance regarding all the benefits and entitlements they have earned as a result of deployment.

To provide servicemembers and their families with a wide range of options as close to home as possible, Defense Department officials are working to unify efforts among the services, the reserve components, other federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations.

"This is a good opportunity for our members and our families to learn about the countless benefits out there to help them not only adjust to a deployment but learn about financial counseling, youth services and single member issues," said Barb Gavre, the wing's Family Readiness Group coordinator.

The first group of wing members invited to participate in the post-deployment event in August will be the recently redeployed security forces squadron; however, additional slots are available to interested members. Families are encouraged to contact family readiness at (520) 295-6566. The resort venue is yet to be determined.

"This will be a nice, relaxing couple of days at a beautiful resort with food and child care provided at the event," said Gavre. "And though this will be on a weekend these are paid duty days where members must be on active duty orders that are also provided by the program."

For more information or to register for an upcoming event visit www.jointservicessupport.org.

(American Forces Press Service contributed to this article.)