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Event helps reservist prepare for first deployment

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Michael Hong

Surrounded by palm trees, sunshine, fountains and swimming pools, Senior Airman Brittney Jenkins took part in an Air Force Reserve Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event here March 16-18, attending various breakout sessions to help her prepare for an upcoming deployment, her first.

“For me, the sessions about furthering my education and money management are the ones that are most important,” said Jenkins, a material management specialist with the 908th Logistics Readiness Squadron at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. “At first I was nervous but I’m excited now. This is my first deployment so I’m excited for the experience.”

More than 400 pre- and post-deployment reservists and their loved ones came to Florida from across the nation to participate in this event. Jenkins attended the event with her partner.

Yellow Ribbon promotes the well-being of reservists and their loved ones by connecting them with resources before and after deployments. The goal of this event is to be helpful to reservists and those closest to them deal with the physical, mental and financial stresses that may accompany deployments.

For Jenkins, the stress management, credit ability and educational sessions were the highlights of the program’s breakout sessions.

“I feel like they really did help because, even though we get information back at home from other counseling sessions, they went more in-depth with what we can expect.”

Adult loved ones shared the table with the reservists as they, too, were informed of the strategies, resources and benefits available to them. Children of reservists attend separate activities.

“My partner didn’t know what to expect because he’s not military but he’s liking the breakout sessions so far,” Jenkins said on the first day of training. “He’s especially loving the stress management and credit classes.”

Care is taken to ensure that participants have both informative and comfortable experiences.

“I think they did a great job of giving breaks because listening to someone for hours can get draining,” said Jenkins. “They did a good job in keeping the briefings short and sweet and moving us along.”

Jenkins’ parents are former U.S. soldiers who are delighted that she’s deploying.

“They’re excited for me but I also have a six-year old son,” said Jenkins. “He’s a little worried but I think he’ll be alright because he’s used to me having to go back and forth for drill and military orders.”

Yellow Ribbon began in 2008 following a congressional mandate for the Department of Defense to assist reservists and National Guard members in maintaining resiliency as they transition between their military and civilian roles. Each year, the Air Force Reserve program trains 7,000 reservists and those closest to them in education benefits, health care, retirement information and more.