News: Southwest Region Reserve Readiness Command hosts Returning Warrior Workshop in San Diego
Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Lewis
SAN DIEGO — Over the weekend of Aug. 16-17, Navy Region Southwest Reserve Readiness Command (NRSW RCC) hosted a Returning Warrior Workshop (RWW) in downtown San Diego for 168 returning reserve Sailors and their guests.
Sailors returning from Afghanistan, Djibouti, Kuwait, Bahrain, Guantanamo, Iraq, Korea, Jordan and United Arab Emirates traveled from across the Southwest Region (Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and California) to attend the workshop.
The event is centered around honoring those that have served, both overseas and at home, as well as helping them with a range of possible reintegration issues that could arise with settling back into their civilian and reserve lifestyles.
Capt. Mark O. Howell, commander, NRSW RCC, kicked off the event with a heartfelt welcome home message thanking them for their hard work and dedication.
RWW speaker Cmdr. Gerarld Hennessey, who served in several overseas operations, set the tone for the workshop with the airing of "A Warrior Story" that imparts the message of the significance of individuals’ roles - whether it be it the Sailors or loved ones who supported them from home - every contribution is important.
“This really gave me pause as a leader,” said Hennessey. “It’s not about the person pulling the trigger or flying the airplane. Regardless of your role in this environment, it is incredibly important.”
In its eighth year, RWW is a part of the Department of Defense’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, a program that is widely regarded as one of the best and most effective reintegration programs available and consists of guest speakers, group presentations, breakout sessions and military service-related vendors.
Lt. Cmdr. Susan Valentine, who returned from her second deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan, gained a new perspective from her first RWW.
“I think some people have a misconception about it,” said Valentine. “It’s good for everybody who comes back, not just for people who want to learn about services or those who have issues, but something that can really benefit people in the long run.”
Her husband, Dean, serving on Coronado Island, attended the event with her and stated that he too learned about RWW.
“I thought it was more oriented for those coming back mainly on how to get a new job, but then there’s also counseling, dealing with the stress and sharing experiences of being over there and then coming back,” he said. “I think it was great.”
The RWW honored returning Sailors and their guest with a welcome home and appreciation banquet called the Banquet of Honor. Each Sailor was presented a letter of appreciation for their service. Rear Adm. Luke M. McCollum, reserved deputy director, was the keynote speaker at the banquet and ended his speech with a quote of “great” advice.
“Pursue great people, read great books, pray great prayers, take great risk, make great sacrifices…I believe you all have checked off that last one and thank you for your sacrifices,” said McCollum.
If you are interested in enrolling in a RWW, contact your regional coordinator and reserve a seat for one of the next RWW in your region at www.yellowribbonevents.org.
This work, Southwest Region Reserve Readiness Command hosts Returning Warrior Workshop in San Diego, by PO3 Daniel Lewis, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.