Yellow Ribbon, help for familes before and after deployments

Col. Jay Pittman, Jr., is the commander of the 302nd Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Col. Jay Pittman, Jr., is the commander of the 302nd Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- This year more than 300 members of the 302nd Airlift Wing have been, are or will be deployed. As Air Force Reservists working to balance civilian jobs, family commitments and the Reserve, deployments are significant life events. With the conversion from Reserve to active duty status, deployments also entitle the member and family members to a number of new benefits and may pose new challenges.

With that said, I want to make sure every member is aware of a program that is available to deployers whose deployments are 90 days or longer.

The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, or YRRP, is designed to assist Air Force Reserve families with issues of deployments, civilian reemployment and benefits.

I have personally taken part in recent YRRP events and I think they have a lot to offer everyone in a Reserve family. Experts from the Veterans Administration, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, financial management and family readiness have been on hand for these events and have helped our members learn more and get the most out of their hard-earned benefits. In addition to the benefits, the YRRP events provide an opportunity for Reserve families to relax and enjoy time away together.

Currently the Air Force Reserve Command is hosting pre and post-deployment events in major cities throughout the nation. Recent YRRP locations have included Phoenix, Dallas, New Orleans, and Seattle.

Reserve members who deploy for 90 consecutive days or more can attend both pre-deployment and post-deployment events. Once approved through your chain of command, you, your spouse and children can attend. For YRRP, the member is on funded orders and the spouse and children are on invitational travel orders allowing their travel (usually airfare) to be paid for by the Air Force Reserve. If you've deployed for 90 or more consecutive days, this too is a benefit you and your family have earned.

To learn more about YRRP, ask your first sergeant or the 302nd Airlift Wing's YRRP project officer Capt. Taya Gessner.