Couple learning how to reconnect after a deployment

Yellow Ribbon, Reserve Citizen Airmen,

Staff Sgt. Eric Gapp of the 934th Air Wing at Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station, Minnesota, and his wife, Laura, credit patience, flexibility and the Air Force Reserve's Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program with helping them reunite following his return from a deployment. The couple attended Yellow Ribbon training event March 23-25, 2018, in San Diego, California. The program began in 2008 and promotes the well-being of reservists and their loved ones by connecting them with resources before and after deployments. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Luke Johnson)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Staff Sgt. Eric Gapp and his wife, Laura, have known each other for eight years and been married for about 18 months, but they are getting to know each other all over again following his recent deployment for the Air Force Reserve.

“I thought (it) was going to be hard, but I’ve found that reintegration is harder,” Laura Gapp said during a March 23-25 event hosted by the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, which promotes the well-being of reservists and their loved ones by connecting them with resources before and after deployments.

Her husband, a training manager for the 934th Airlift Wing at Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station in Minnesota, said it was difficult to turn off his deployment mindset when he returned home, which affected his closest relationships -- especially with his wife.

“You have to change the way you operate during a deployment,” he said. “You’ve got to be direct with people in order to continue the mission safely. You have to disregard how people are feeling about what you are saying.”

The direct mindset and apathy toward the feelings of others led to challenges when he reunited with his loved ones.

“Sometimes, I can be a bit too direct to my family, especially with Laura,” he said. “During the deployment, there are high expectations, and when you come home and you put high expectation on your family they can easily let you down because you have a lot less patience.”
Laura Gapp labeled this deployment mindset as being “wound up.”

“They wind you up very hard when you are deployed,” she said. “You don’t get time to unwind. You don’t remember what unwinding is, and you don’t know the best way to do it.”

She said her husband’s mission-focused mindset negatively impacted their relationship as they were learning to reconnect. She said his first day home from deployment was “blissful,” but then it became more difficult to adjust.

“You get lost trying to figure out what your next mission is and what your role is,” she said. “If it is undefined, it leaves you in limbo, and I think that for a lot of people, including Eric, who is goal driven, it leaves you frustrated with what to do next. If there is no set plan, it makes you angry or leaves a hole (in your relationships).”

She said patience has been the key for reconnecting with her spouse.
“Being flexible is very important, and you have to prepare that integration is not going to come naturally to anyone. You need to find that routine again and give it some time.”

The Gapps found the Couples Enrichment Program class at the Yellow Ribbon event beneficial on their journey toward reconnecting with each other. It is designed to help those who are married, engaged or dating delve into their relationships to better understand themselves and their partners in a more profound way so they can build and maintain healthy unions.

“(It) teaches couples to reflect upon the simple things in life and to simplify the daily issues, which will help us reconnect,” Laura Gapp said of the training, which is aimed at post-deployers and their loved ones attending their second Yellow Ribbon weekend following their return. It is led by an Air Force Reserve chaplain.

The couple encourages Reserve Citizen Airmen to attend Yellow Ribbon events to learn about what resources are available and to not be afraid to reach out if they are experiencing problems or issues with your closest relationships.

“It has been helpful for us,” Eric Gapp said. “(People shouldn’t) be afraid to talk to a chaplain or to a mental health advocate if (they) need help.”

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.

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and First Lady Deborah Bryant (first row, fourth/fifth from left), AFRC Command Chief Master Sergeant Ericka Kelly (first row, third from right) and distinguished visitors celebrate the Innovative Readiness Training program and their efforts at Camp Kamassa. The camp is Mississippi's largest and only special needs camp for children and adults. The Air Force Reserve led the effort with more than 100 #ReserveCitizenAirmen working on the project.
The 2018 Gen. Mark A. Welsh III One Air Force Award nominee for #AFRC is from the 26th and 527th Space Aggressor Squadrons, Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The members of the 26th and 527th SASs achieved mission success as a total force and demonstrated operational readiness and mission accomplishment. Visit http://www.afrc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1575294/afrc-2018-gen-mark-a-welsh-iii-one-air-force-award-nominee/.
AF Reserve Hurricane Hunters assist with monsoon research - http://www.afrc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1573836/air-force-reserve-hurricane-hunters-assist-with-monsoon-research/ via 403d Wing, Air Force Reserve
East Central Georgia IRT teams arrive - #TotalForce" target="_blank">http://www.afrc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1571419/east-central-georgia-irt-teams-arrive/ via 445th Airlift Wing #TotalForce</a>
Congratulations to the award winners!
Check out the teaser for "A Pilot&#39;s Journey." This short film will premiere at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 in celebration of the #AFReserve 70th anniversary!
In the latest issue of Princeton Magazine, the 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst takes you inside their history, the 70-year history of the #AFReserve and what the future may hold for the Freedom Wing. Read the story at http://www.princetonmagazine.com/into-the-blue/.
For the latest updates on the MAFFS - Air Expeditionary Group mission visit the 302nd Airlift Wing (Air Force Reserve) website at http://www.302aw.afrc.af.mil/.
#ICYMI: Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence flew into Grissom Air Reserve Base for the #July4th holiday and were greeted by 434th Air Refueling Wing leadership.
Elinor Otto, America&#39;s longest working "Rosie the Riveter", will be featured on ABC Television Network&#39;s To Tell The Truth Sunday, July 8 at 10 p.m. EST. Otto visited March Air Reserve Base in late 2017 when she was honored by Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller, #AFRC Commander, and Gen. Carlton Everhart II, Air Mobility Command Commander, for her service. Read the story at http://www.march.afrc.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1401718/rosie-the-riveter-honored-at-march-arb/.
Today we, as a nation, celebrate July 4 as our Independence Day! Please have safe and fun holiday and remember all of those served to guarantee our freedoms!
Maj. Gen. Richard Scobee, #AFRC Deputy Commander, being interviewed at the Warner Robins Independence Day Concert.
Come back at 8:20 P.M. EST to watch Maj. Gen. Richard Scobee, #AFRC Deputy Commander, introduce Hunter Hayes live on Facebook.
Tune into 13 WMAZ today at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for live interviews and updates from the Warner Robins Independence Day Concert!
RT @AFCareers: Updated info on our #HurricaneMichael website! Food/water distro points, grants from @AFASHQ, assistance enrolling your kids…
Here is an update from Tyndall AFB on the status of the base. For more information on available resources, visit… https://t.co/79je4wBHR8
RT @usairforce: Phase two of @TeamTyndall recovery efforts has begun. #Airmen & dependents will have limited access to the base to evaluate…
RT @HQ_AFMC: #POTUS and #FLOTUS stopped by @TeamEglin and @RobinsAFB_GA as part of a larger visit to see the devastation from #HurricaneMic
RT @TeamTyndall: The AF Personnel Center @AFCareers gives live video updates #HurricaneMichael https://t.co/vWj4FTceXN
Reservists from the @301FighterWing, @307BombWing and the @914ARW recently supported the Army Reserve Command's Exe… https://t.co/eeVh6fQHI6
RT @DeptofDefense: The 823rd Red Horse advanced echelon team traveled from @Hurlburt_Field, Fla., to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., to help…
For our Reserve Citizen Airmen affected by #HurricaneMichael, please visit https://t.co/rSIGZ5wmjA for information on available resources.
#AFRC Recruiter builds major relationship with minor league team - https://t.co/4iTCv7sfab
RT @AirmanMagazine: As Hurricane Michael continues, here's some insight into the daring jobs of our @USAFReserve Hurricane Hunters! @53rd
Brotherly Love of Aviation - https://t.co/cosAt5HLxQ via @DobbinsARB
RT @usairforce: #Airmen only have 83 days left to opt-in on the Blended Retirement System! The deadline is Dec. 31, 2018. https://t.co/dMxY…
AWACS maintainers at leading edge of 3-D printing - https://t.co/N8zToZSEM1 https://t.co/1ofvvIjsWi
The Atlanta Air Show is Oct. 13 and 14 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Military members in uniform can get free admi… https://t.co/AainNbeYy8
Reserve defenders take gold at international military competition - https://t.co/uNyAe2m16s https://t.co/Qi77WakRMY
RT @hqarpc: October is Energy Action Month. Every effort taken by our Air Force community contributes to protecting our energy and water re…
The October 2018 issue of @CitizenAirman Magazine is now available at https://t.co/ruiiY8Ddzy. https://t.co/l9gSL4xhf2