News: Deployed soldiers’ families receive support through USACAPOC (A) Yellow Ribbon event
Story by Staff Sgt. Amanda Smolinski
ANAHEIM, Calif. – “It is hard to be alone and not know who to call,” said Melissa Valles, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Jason Valles, deployed to Afghanistan with the 301st Tactical Psyop Company.
Valles, like all family members of deployed U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command - Airborne soldiers, was invited to attend a Yellow Ribbon event designed to help families link to resources during this difficult time. The Yellow Ribbon program consists of seven events: two prior to deployment, two during the deployment for family members, and three post deployment reintegration events.
Event three, like the one Valles attended, takes place 30 to 60 days after deployment, and family members were invited at no cost in order to receive informational briefs from financial consultants, chaplains, Military Life Consultants, TRICARE, and legal representatives to name a few. More than 50 family members of deployed Soldiers from the 351st Civil Affairs Command and 301st TPC participated in the United States Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) Yellow Ribbon event three in Anaheim, Calif., April 30.
“I came to [Yellow Ribbon event three] because I knew it was a great opportunity to find out what [services] are available…otherwise it is all ‘hear say,’ and pieces of information may be missing,” said Brianna Hosch, wife of Staff Sgt. Chad Hosch, deployed to Afghanistan with the 301st TPC .
Yellow Ribbon’s seven events provide training in innovative ways to communicate and deliver information which help to support and increase the readiness of service members and their families throughout a deployment cycle.
Valles took the opportunity at event three to speak with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve representative to seek information on the new revisions of the family and medical leave Act which allows working family members to attend military events and related activities such as Yellow Ribbon events.
“I don’t have a lot of information right now, but I’m on it,” said Patrick Kuykendal, the ESGR representative. Many employers are not aware of the revision and have been known to make it difficult for family members to attend these types of events, which makes the process of deployment even harder on families. “It is good to come [to this event] and know that there are people here willing to find the answers and get back to me,” said Valles.
Outside of informational briefs, the Yellow Ribbon event three is an opportunity for geographically dispersed Army Reserve families to come together once their soldier has been deployed, giving them the chance to discuss stories, challenges and advice. Families were also allotted personal time with a chaplain or personal financial consultant if needed.
Family members will be invited back to attend event four which will take place no more than 60 days prior to their soldier returning home from the deployment. Event four is aimed towards preparing the families for the reintegration phase of redeployment.
More information on the Yellow Ribbon Program, including event registration information is available at www.usacapoc.army.mil or by contacting the Yellow Ribbon Coordinator, at (910) 643-3927.
This work, Deployed soldiers’ families receive support through USACAPOC (A) Yellow Ribbon event, by SSG Amanda Smolinski, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.