“ReBlue” event helps troops, families readjust after Iraq mission

Story by 1st Lt. Mark Slaughter, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

Inside the Auditorium

Soldiers and their Families from the 1/149th Infantry Battalion attending "ReBlue" briefings hosted by Kentucky National Guard Yellow Ribbon Program held on April 20-21, 2012 at the Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts in Richmond, Kentucky (Photo by 1st Lt. Mark Slaughter, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

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Jaxton Williamson

Staff Sgt. Anthony Williamson helps his seven month old son Jaxton practice his marching skills during a break at the 1/149th Infantry Battalion "ReBlue."(Photo by 1st Lt. Mark Slaughter, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

RICHMOND, Ky. – Kentucky Guardsmen and Family Members of the 1/149th Infantry Battalion attended the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration event at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky. April 20-21. This “ReBlue” was the final chapter of their deployment in Iraq supporting Operation New Dawn.

“This was the largest event ever conducted by the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program,” said 1stLt. Oscar Ortiz, Kentucky National Guard Yellow Ribbon Event Coordinator. “We pulled resources from all over the state to ensure we were able to provide a quality product for the deserving Service Members and their families.”

Yellow Ribbon is a program authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 by the Department of Defense.  The goal of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program is to provide information, services, referral and proactive outreach opportunities throughout the entire deployment cycle for the Guard and Reserve members and families.

This was a team effort by the staff of the Kentucky Army National Guard Family Programs and everybody worked hard to pull off this event.

“The Yellow Ribbon Staff was very nice and helpful,” said Tina Goforth, fiancée of Spc. Garrick Wilson.

SPC Caleb McEndree

Spc. Caleb McEndree feeds his son Braxton during a break at the 1/149th Infantry Battalion “ReBlue” hosted by Kentucky National Guard Yellow Ribbon Program held on April 20-21, 2012 at the Eastern Kentucky University Center for the Arts in Richmond, Kentucky (Photo by 1st Lt. Mark Slaughter, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs)

“I think it a good idea,” said Vietnam Veteran Steve Medairos, father of Spc. Christopher Ricci.  “They never had anything like this for us. What they are doing now for the guys is good.”

“The Richmond event was the capstone to a weeklong reintegration process which prepares the unit to return to training status,” said Ortiz.

At the conclusion of the two-day training, Tina Wynn said, “We got a lot of helpful information about Tricare, Military One Souces and other information we didn’t have before.”

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