06/07/2012 | Lt. Col. Christopher Black, 108th Training Division (IET) Public Affairs
Ms. Paddee Muncy, manager, Family Readiness Program, 95th Training Division (IET) assists a Soldier of Task Force Griffon present a “Hug Me Doll” to his daughter during a reception on Dec. 9 in Addison, TX. Photo by Lt. Col. Christopher Black, 108th Training Division (IET) Public Affairs
ADDISON, TX — On Dec. 9, approximately 214 Soldiers and their family members arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Addison, TX to participate in the Task Force Griffon Pre-Deployment Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Training. The training was sponsored by the 95th Training Division (IET), which is commanded by Brig. Gen. Ray A. Royalty. Task Force Griffon is comprised of Army Reserve units from across the U.S. under the control of the 95th Training Division. The task force was specifically built with select Reserve capabilities to meet specific mission requirements needed to support training operations in Afghanistan.
The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration program, a DoD-wide effort, is about assisting Soldiers and their family members identify available resources that help with managing the challenges and stress associated with deployments. The three-day event allowed Soldiers and their family members to spend quality time together prior to the Soldiers departing for mobilization training at Fort Dix, N.J.
The agenda opened with a reception organized by the Family Programs section of the 95th Training Division (IET). The reception allowed Soldiers and their family members to learn about the services and resources available to them in order to sustain a healthy family while being mobilized. The social also allowed the group to unwind and mingle after a long day of travel to Addison, which is located on the northern side of Dallas, TX. The event created a relaxed environment for Soldiers, senior leaders, and family members to connect and get to know one another prior to the next day’s schedule of briefings, training, and process of orders.
Royalty opened the Yellow Ribbon event to the approximate 500 participants with a hearty welcome and sincere appreciation for the Soldiers willingness to serve and be a part of something so great. He also thanked the families for their willingness to sacrifice by allowing their loved one the opportunity to serve with the best military in the world and wished every member of the task force “God Speed”, as they embark on this mission.
Brig. Gen. Allen Elliott, deputy commanding general, 108th Training Command (IET), supported Royalty’s comments about willingness to serve and the importance of family support during the process. He also noted the Yellow Ribbon Program was a great event and was a major improvement over the pre-deployment training he received when he deployed years before. Elliott mentioned that during his deployment he had the easy job because in his mind, he already knew what he was doing and where he was going. The folks that had the hard job were the folks that stayed behind to carry the load. He also mentioned how his family was left to figure things out on their own with some assistance from the Family Readiness Group. Elliott asked that family members take advantage of this opportunity and to take copious notes about the programs and services available to assist them during the deployment. He closed by wishing everyone a safe deployment and return.
Ms. Linda MacNeal presents resiliency training to Soldiers and family members of Task Force Griffon at a Yellow Ribbon Event on Dec.10 in Addison, TX.
Photo by Lt. Col. Christopher Black, 108th Training Division (IET) Public Affairs
Ms. Linda MacNeil opened up the training with an entertaining and informative briefing on resiliency. Resiliency training serves to assist Soldiers and family members deal with the stresses and challenges that the deployment cycle creates. The training also focuses on the importance of understanding effective strategies for communication and stress relief between couples before, during, and after the deployment. Ms. MacNeal is a military spouse and has had to deal with the stresses associated with her husband’s deployment in 2006. Ms. MacNeal’s humorist approach to educating the audience on managing stress and dealing with the deployment challenges highlighted the importance of the services and programs being presented at the Yellow Ribbon event.
After Ms. MacNeal’s opening session, the audience was broken down into three groups where training was conducted in a round robin fashion to expedite the training and to allow the participants access to informational briefings. Guest speakers provided the groups with overviews and contact information for several programs available to assess and support them during the deployment cycle. The following programs were presented during the session: Army Disaster Personnel Accounting System (ADPASS) (https://adpass.army.mil), TRICARE (http://tricare.mil/), Dental Coverage, Insurance Coverage/Needs (USAA), Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) (http://esgr.org/site/), Finances, Family Life, and Red Cross (www.redcross.org). Military OneSource (www.militaryonesource.mil) was the final presentation before the training events concluded.
One of the highlights of this Yellow Ribbon Integration event was the number of volunteers that assisted and the support of the communities affected by this deployment. Volunteers from the 95th Training Division (IET) Family Readiness Group were instrumental in processing and assisting the families during the event. In addition, Family Programs coordinated with community programs to provide “Hug Dolls”, backpacks and goody bags to every child of a deploying Soldier. The “Hug Dolls” were kissed by the deploying parent and offered to their child as a token of love and reminder of their love for them while they are deployed.
Ms. Paddee Muncy, manager for the 95th Training Division’s Family Readiness Program, coordinated with local contracts to get 4H to donate backpacks with coloring books and others materials to entertain the children while their parents attended training. In addition, all the speakers, set-up information booths loaded with incentive items and brochures to reinforce the information presented. Mr. Clifton McLamb, Yellow Ribbon Coordinator, 108th Training Command (IET), stated that the volunteers and community partnerships greatly enhance the experience and value to Soldiers and their families in preparation for the deploying family member’s absence during deployment.