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    Citizen-Soldiers and their families receive redeployment support

    Citizen-Soldiers and their families receive redeployment support

    Photo By Capt. Titus Firmin | Lt. Col. Darren Koberlein, incoming commander, receives the battalion colors from Lt....... read more read more



    Story by 1st Lt. Titus Firmin 

    105th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    WICHITA, KS. – Over 1,100 servicemembers and their families from the 2nd Combined Armed Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment and C. Battery, 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery arrived at the Hyatt Regency in Wichita, Kansas, July 20-21, for the Department of Defense’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.
    The 2nd CAB-137th Inf. Regt. and C Btry., 1st. Bn., 161st FA returned from a nine month deployment to East Africa and the Middle East. Since 2008, the Kansas Army National Guard has required service members to participate in Yellow Ribbon events to help service members readjust after deployments.
    The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program is a weekend of seminars and workshops on issues such as family conflict, stress management, accessing veterans healthcare and education benefits.
    “This is the largest event the Kansas National Guard has put on and the first time a Yellow Ribbon Program is also being held in conjunction with a job fair,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Jared Worley, Resilience and Yellow Ribbon Program manager. “For most of these Soldiers this is their first deployment, but the CAB has a high operational tempo so some of these Soldiers have deployed four, five, and even six times. Not all the Soldiers have sure job prospects when they come home and that adds extra stress on them and their families. This is why we added a job fair to the Yellow Ribbon event.”
    The job fair consisted of local employers and universities in the Wichita and Kansas City areas such as Textron Avionics, Spirit Airlines, Koch Industries, Fedex, Coca Cola, Washburn and Baker University and many others.
    “On behalf of Governor Laura Kelly and the proud state of Kansas – thank you and welcome home,” said Maj. Gen. Lee E. Tafanelli, the adjutant general of the Kansas National Guard.
    Tafanelli and Brig. Gen. Anthony V. Mohatt, assistant adjutant general of the Kansas Army National Guard , welcomed the 2nd CAB-137th Inf. Regt. and C. Btry., 1st. Bn., 161st FA back home from their recent deployment overseas.
    “This weekend is an opportunity to change your life through education, employment, and counseling,” said Mohatt emphatically. “Being in the National Guard is like juggling water balloons – it is a delicate balance. So let's talk and get you all back in balance.”
    “I don’t want this to just be me talking, but a conversation between all of us, especially your family…,” said Jake Rademacher, director of the documentary Brothers at War. “Your family members are very important but often overlooked.”
    Sponsored by the Gary Sinise Foundation and TriWest Healthcare, Rademacher featured Brothers at War and led the group through a companion workbook that connected the Soldiers and their families own experiences with the film.
    “The idea behind it is that the film will spark conversations between Soldiers and their families. Writing about your experiences creates open communication and it is also cathartic and therapeutic,” said Rademacher. “Not just for the Soldiers, but also for their families.”
    “One of the best things has been reuniting with my old buddies I was deployed with,” said Spc. Steven Kerksiek, a member of C. Btry., 1st Bn., 161st FA. “After being with them nonstop for nearly 14 months and then not seeing them since we got home was strange. It has been really nice reconnecting with them and their families and spouses.
    “I really enjoyed going out to dinner with our friends, while getting to explore downtown Wichita,” said Kerksiek’s wife, Jessica, while holding their 19 month-old daughter. “Since Stephen got home we both sorta hit the ground running and jumped back into work. This weekend has been nice to reconnect after being separated for such a long time.”
    The 2nd CAB, 137th Inf. Regt. also held a change of command ceremony during the Yellow Ribbon Program. Lt. Col. Darren Koberlein received command of the unit from Lt. Col. Carlin Williams in a change of command ceremony held at the Hyatt Regency, July 20.
    “In order for us to serve our country and our communities we need our families and each other to do what we need to do,” said Williams. “Like a big family we don’t always agree on everything, but we still know how to come together and get the job done.”
    “Your mission is over, but you are not done,” said Koberlein. “Your job now is to get well and to take care of yourself and your family.”



    Date Taken: 07.20.2019
    Date Posted: 07.30.2019 12:21
    Story ID: 333624
    Location: WICHITA, KS, US 
    Hometown: KANSAS CITY, KS, US

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