An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Former naval officer addresses Yellow Ribbon trainees

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Aja Heiden
  • 482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
A former Navy officer who's also a military spouse led Air Force Reservists and their loved ones in weekend discussions about communication challenges posed by deployments.

"Having bad communication does not make you a bad person, it happens to everyone," said Chip Lutz, who retired as a lieutenant commander after 22 years in the service. "Communication is 7 percent words, 38 percent voice qualities and 55 percent body movement."

Lutz was the keynote speaker at a Yellow Ribbon Program training event Jan. 24-25 in Florida and also directed several sessions for smaller groups. Yellow Ribbon promotes the well-being of reservists and those closest to them by connecting them with resources before and after deployments.

"This (information) is important for returning service members because it will help them break down the barriers in their communication," he said. "When reservists return from deployment they aren't geographically located near their base, so they have no one they can talk to. They don't deploy with members from their town."

Lutz used his Navy time and marriage to a military member to create a discussion on the altered relationship dynamics caused by deployments. GIs face many challenges that can influence their lives long after they return home, ending a separation due to military service.

"The tempo was more intense," Tech. Sgt. KeAira Harris of the 482nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla, said of her recent overseas deployment. "We were less aware of our own needs, such as sleep, to get the job done. It became an un-normal normal."
Yellow Ribbon prepares Airmen and their families for deployment and reintegrates them upon the military member's return. They are generally able to attend one event prior to deploying and two afterward. Congress established the program in January 2008 via the National Defense Authorization Act to offer services, information, referrals and outreach to service members and their families. The program trains about 7,000 people each year in education benefits, health care, retirement information and more.

One resource it provided during the Florida training session was a class Lutz led in jumpstarting post-deployment communication. Participants discussed the six factors of effective communication and ways to make communication more productive now that the service member is home.

"We chose this class because it is the one that seemed to best fit the reason we came (here)," said Senior Airman Joseph Divish, air transportation specialist for the 87th Aerial Port Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Service members and loved ones said classes help their transition process.

"After coming to this class we are aware of issues we could face now that my husband has returned, and we have new solutions for those issues," said Destinee Divish, wife of an Airman who recently returned from a deployment.