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Yellow Ribbon helps Reserve Airmen, families deal with discomfort

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Sean Evans
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The commander of the 315th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, discussed how the discomfort of deployment provides an opportunity for growth during a Yellow Ribbon event in Atlanta, June 17-19.

Colonel John Robinson provided opening remarks for the event, which aimed to connect Reserve Airmen and their loved ones with resources to help them before, during and after deployment.

“When people go out on a deployment for the first time, they come back and always say it was uncomfortable,” Robinson said. “It’s uncomfortable for the deployers and uncomfortable for the family members but that's an opportunity for you to grow.”

Stressful events can occur over the course of a deployment that puts the deployer or their families in difficult or uncomfortable situations.

“Once when I was gone, my wife dealt with two remodeling jobs, replacement of a water heater and roof, the death of my father and her mother, graduation for my daughter from high school, and COVID twice,” Robinson recalled. “Those things happen while you're gone.”

Such circumstances can be overwhelming for families who are not prepared with ways to cope or do not have an adequate support system.

“Yellow Ribbon Program events specialize in helping Reserve Airmen and their loved ones deal with the discomfort and adversity of a deployment,” said Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Jones, the Yellow Ribbon program’s public affairs manager.

Topics such as communication, expectations management, gratitude, relationship skills, personal health and many more are covered during Yellow Ribbon classroom sessions. These sessions are led by subject-matter experts, some of whom are from the military and some from the private sector.

“A lot of people use the word anxiety when they mean uncomfortable: reframe that with being uncomfortable,” Robinson said. “When you are in an uncomfortable position, you have an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself. Through that you'll realize that discomfort is the ticket to a meaningful life.”