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Deployers, loved ones learn communication planning at Yellow Ribbon event

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ryan Green
  • 349th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Reserve Airmen and their loved ones learned how to develop a deployment communication plan during a presentation at a Yellow Ribbon event in Anaheim, California, April 23, 2022.

The presentation was led by D’Anthony Harris, a member of the Yellow Ribbon Cadre of Speakers for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Harris, who is also a Reserve captain at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, encouraged deployed Airmen to have a communication plan because they will be busy executing their mission while loved ones back home often have to take on some of the roles the deployed Airmen would typically handle.

“You essentially have to put your life on pause while your partner doesn’t,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Cloud, a reservist from Travis Air Force Base, California, who attended the presentation. “You’re both not living the same thing during the deployment.”

Yellow Ribbon events help Airmen and their loved one’s cope with such stressors while remaining resilient, in addition to providing them resources before, during and after deployments.

“We ask our members to do a lot,” Harris said. “We put a lot of stress on their lives, ask them to leave their families or support system, and take on different responsibilities. One important way we help our members be more resilient when they deploy or reintegrate is explaining that it doesn’t happen without effective communication.”

Harris said communication plans alleviate some of that stress as long as they address:

• The method of communication (email, phone, etc.)
• The frequency of communication
• How extended family & friends will be informed
• How stressful or dangerous events will be discussed
• How to communicate when email or phones are down
• How to address miscommunication and perceived issues

Harris emphasized that everyone that goes through a deployment, whether as an Airman or as a love ones, has their own unique experience and communications plans should be account for those unique experiences, perceptions and needs.

“As you think through this, it’ll help you be a little more intentional about what it’s going to look like and who you are going to be in communication with,” Harris said. “Those relationships are going to require different methods of communication, different timeframes, different understanding and different approaches.”

Harris’ presentation was just one of many resources provided by the Yellow Ribbon event to help Reserve Airmen and their loved ones maintain resiliency and readiness before, during and after deployment.