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April 24, 2015 at 11:07am

Air Mobility Command cancels 2015 Rodeo at McChord Field

Swarner Communications - publisher of the Ranger and Northwest Airlifters newspapers serving Joint Base Lewis-McChord and regional active, reserve and retired military - has always been a big part of McChold Field hosted Air Mobility Rodeos - the biennial, international airlift competition hosted by the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command. We published the daily newspapers serving the Rodeo, sponsored Rodeo events and, of course, covered the event. Unfortunately, this year's Rodeo scheduled at McChord Field has been canceled.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Air Mobility Command announced today that the 2015 Rodeo readiness competition, which was scheduled to take place at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in August, has been canceled.

General Darren McDew, AMC commander, decided to cancel the competition largely because of the high current operations tempo for mobility Airmen and budget constraints.

"During these challenging times, we need to be good stewards of our very limited funds and our Airmen's time," McDew said. "It's unfortunate, but given the circumstances, this is the right decision. We're looking forward to the possibilities of tailoring future Rodeo events, to ensure we're getting the most training and international partnership building value from this event."

It is not the first time Rodeo has been canceled for budgetary or operational tempo reasons. In both 1988 and 2013, Rodeo was cancelled due to budgetary shortfalls, and 2003 was canceled because of worldwide commitments for the Global War on Terror and humanitarian efforts. The last Rodeo event was held at JBLM in July 2011.

"An event of this magnitude could not be successfully completed without the strong relationships built together with our community partners and businesses that support Joint Base Lewis-McChord," said Col. David Kumashiro, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "We value and appreciate our continued partnerships and very much look forward to the day when we can bring this event back to JBLM and our surrounding communities."

Rodeo competitions are held to train and improve the abilities of U.S. and international partners' air mobility operations skills while building international relationships.

April 2, 2015 at 11:50am

PlayStation, NBA coming to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in June

It's not every day that a National Basketball Association legend swings by your local military base to shoot hoops with the fellas. But later this spring, in conjunction with the NBA, Sony PlayStation and the USO, military families on Joint Base Lewis-McChord will have the chance to rub elbows with basketball greatness.

The 2015 PlayStation NBA Cares Hoops for Troops activation event is part of a series of visits this spring to military installations around the country. The JBLM visit, the penultimate in a series of seven, is slated for June 10 to12.

Though details are still being finalized (including exactly which NBA legend will take part), the visit is scheduled to include a variety of events over the two-day period. For instance, two basketball hoops will be donated for either an indoor gym or outdoor court on JBLM. After the hoops are installed and the ceremonial "hanging of the nets" is complete, the NBA player and others will host a basketball clinic for military youth and families. Players will have "hands-on" time with a true NBA legend and learn tricks of the trade from one of the country's best. Participants will also get a free "swag bag" containing PlayStation and NBA gear.

Also on the agenda is a Commitment to Service project, which is aimed at helping get servicemembers involved in their community.

There will also be a PlayStation trailer set up on site - attention, gamers! - in which new and possibly unreleased video games will be available for play. A gaming tournament is slated for the final day of the visit, with prizes including PS4 consoles and games.   

The yet-to-be-named NBA legend is scheduled to play a few of those PS games alongside the servicemembers, and PlayStation plans to donate several PS4 consoles and games to places like the USO and the Warrior Zone.

The locations of the donated hoops, PlayStation consoles and games, gaming trailer and clinic are still to be determined.

Hoops for Troops began nine years ago as a "global social responsibility program for USA Basketball," according to information on its website.

Its programs and events work to provide support for military personnel and their families. PlayStation is the first-ever partner of NBA Cares Hoops for Troops program.

For more information about the program, visit www.nba.com/hoopsfortroops.

April 2, 2015 at 11:20am

Washington National Guard hosted its annual menu board selection and food demonstration

Washington National Guard’s Aviation Readiness Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord played host to this year’s Washington National Guard FY15 WA Guard Food Service Menu Board Event. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The Washington National Guard hosted its annual menu board selection and food demonstration event March 27 in its Aviation Readiness Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord with the goal of selecting this year's new menu items for drilling service members.

"Servicemembers need to learn new skills, and those skill sets play a role in our ability to do more from scratch, to feed more and still stay within the budget," said the Guard's Food Program Manager Master Sgt. Darrell DeGroff.

The purpose of the event was to allow servicemembers an opportunity to learn more and help decide on the menu items that they will see during their drill/AT weekends in the coming year.

Along with selecting meals, attendees also had the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of different food samplings from dozens of food vendors like Sysco, PepsiCo and US Foods.

While the taste testing of the latest and greatest food items was occurring downstairs, culinary competitions took place upstairs with various local schools and colleges.

"Our high school is so military centric because we have so many military kids that go through our school," said Lakes High School sophomore Anna Short, who participated in the day's culinary competition.

Lakes High, Steilacoom High and Bates Technical Culinary students all had to use the same primary ingredients to create a meal that cost no less or no more than $4.09 per person.

"Conceptualization was the most difficult part of today's meal," said Bates Technical culinary student Anthony Brooks.  "It's important how these plates look as well, and we wanted to take the budget and meal choice and make it more exciting."

>>> A Culinary Arts Program student from Bates Technical College communicates on what techniques they used to craft the vegetable portion of his presented meal.  Command members of the Washington National Guard were the official judges for the culinary competition that took place during this year's FY15 WA Guard Food Service Menu Board Event. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The chefs also had to ensure that the total amount of their ingredients could feed 100 servicemembers.

Short gave a familiar-sounding description of how resiliency fits into her cooking career, similar to the military.

"We have to learn how to work together really well," she said. "You've got to learn how to listen to others, work together and check up on each other to see how everyone's doing."

Food brings people together, and that message is one that should resonate with every FY15 Menu Board attendee.

In other words, food isn't just about eating.

"The Army is coming to understand that food means more than eating," DeGroff said. "It is, as we say, feeding the soul, the mind, the body and the spirit.  It's a part of our big Army cycle of physical fitness."

>>> These Culinary Arts Program students from Bates Technical College show off their FY15 Outstanding College Culinary Arts Team award for winning this year's college culinary competition.  Each group had to spend a $4.09 budget per servicemember to prepare a lasagna and salad plate. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Involving the servicemembers that actually eat the food to become a part of selecting the food that they eat sounds like a reasonable idea and is something that remains a focus of the Washington National Guard.

"The fact that we are reaching out to our customers to get them in, so they can have an influence, is impactful for all of us," DeGroff said.

Anyone who has had a really good meal probably agrees with the fact that food has many feelings of endearment associated with it.

"We care about each other, and it's demonstrated in food here," DeGroff added.  "These menu boards allow for training and (food) demos to remind these soldiers that they just don't come here to throw a meal out and go home."

>>> The Washington National Guard's 81st HBCT Annual First Place Trophy for the Philip A. Connelly Award for Excellence in Field Kitchen Competition was on display for this year's FY15 WA Guard Food Service Menu Board Event. Photo credit: Gary Lott

The biggest addition this year from last was the inclusion of the Washington Restaurant Association. 

"The troops have to be healthy and vibrant to protect us, so food safety is critical," said guest judge and Washington Restaurant Association Director of Education Lyle Hildahl. 

Hildahl provided constructive criticism to the students throughout the competition.

With servicemembers relaxed and full of savory snacks, the FY 15 WA Food Service Menu Board also provided resiliency support resources.

"The number of younger soldiers that we have that leave our drill weekend that don't have a place to live, that don't have a job, are unfortunately increasing dramatically," added DeGroff.

Suicide Prevention, Family Programs and Employment Transition Services representatives from the Joint Services Support Directorate-Washington National Guard were present throughout the day for servicemembers to utilize as well.

"If you provide hope, if you provide a challenge, then you lift them, you get them engaged," DeGroff said.  "Getting them to go to these people is very difficult, but bringing these people to them in a place like this, where they are away from their family and just relaxing, is very beneficial.

"They let down their guard and become more willing to pull someone to the side and have that conversation than they would back in their unit."

March 18, 2015 at 1:01pm

446th Airlift Wing names Col. Gerry Signorelli second in command

This just in from the 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Field on Joint Base Lewis-McChord

MCCHORD FIELD, Wash. -- The 446th Airlift Wing, the sole Air Force Reserve flying unit in Washington state has selected Col. Gerry Signorelli to be its vice commander, effective April 6.

Signorelli brings 23 years of all-around experience as a traditional [part-time] Reservist, air reserve technician, active-duty Airman, and individual mobilization augmentee to the wing.

"You can't find a military journal published that doesn't boast about the tremendous global impact of the men and women of this wing," he said. "I'm honored to join this outstanding team."

Signorelli said he's grateful Col. Scott McLaughlin, 446th AW commander, trusts his abilities to be his right-hand man, and make a positive impact on the people in the wing.

McLaughlin and Signorelli share history.

"I have had the pleasure of working with Colonel Signorelli," he said. "[He] is eminently qualified to fill a senior leader position at the 446th and has an impressive history of military excellence."

In his previous assignment as the Senior Joint Operations action officer and service lead at Norfolk Naval Air Station, Virginia since October 2014, Signorelli coordinated with Department of Defense agencies to efficiently position assets that support emerging national security interests.

A resident of Rockwall in East Texas, Signorelli is a first officer, and leadership and aviation risk resource management instructor for Southwest Airlines in his civilian career.

He earned his commission through Norwich University's ROTC program in 1991, and earned the distinguished graduate award. Since then, he's held several operational, staff and leadership positions, and tallied more than 8,500 hours in multiple military and civilian airframes.

As the vice commander, Signorelli will be responsible for assisting the wing commander with organizing, training, and ensuring the readiness of nearly 2,100 Reservists.

Signorelli succeeds Col. Richard Grayson, whose retirement ceremony was March 8 after serving as vice commander since 2012, and nearly three decades in the Air Force.

"There's no replacing Colonel Grayson after 27 years of steadfast dedication to the Airmen and mission of the 446th," Signorelli said. "I will do my best to uphold his incomparable service record."

March 16, 2015 at 11:00am

Military families turned out for party at Marymount Car Museum

Isabelle Poole smiles as she receives a trim Maria Afrens during the His & Her Party held at the Marymount Car Museum. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Five-year-old Isabelle Poole sat quietly as a barber trimmed her hair.

"We're fixing her hair," her mother, Karen Poole, said.

"This past Thursday she tried cutting her own hair, so today's event came at a good time for us to stop by," she added with a thin smile.

I began to get the picture.

Standing nearby, husband and Sgt. 1st Class Greg Poole, 1st Special Forces Group, held the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Kayla.

"She also cut her sister's hair as well," the girls' mother continued. "So both girls are now getting their hair fixed."

Now I had the picture.

Servicemembers like the Pooles from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Camp Murray, Naval Base Kitsap, reservists and retired military had accepted an invitation to attend a His & Her Party Sunday afternoon at the Marymount Car Museum.

Lining the walls of the Marymount gymnasium where the majority of the event was staged were vintage cars, gasoline signs and other automobile memorabilia.

The Ranger and Northwest Airlifter newspapers produced the event, sponsored by USAA.

As to Marymount, it is a propitious venue.

Marymount Military Academy opened in 1923 under the guidance of the Sisters of St. Dominic with 30 boys in attendance, though the number fluctuated over the years to as many as 120 students.

With the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, the sisters ended their operation of the military school.

By the 1980s, maintenance problems led the sisters to sell Marymount. It is at this point that Harold and Nancy LeMay purchased the buildings and ground.

Today, Marymount is the home of the LeMay Family Collection Foundation. 

The event's activities included a Man Cave, antique cars, hair services, teeth whitening, hand treatments, door prizes, giveaways, game shows with prizes and acupuncture.

"It's really nice to be here to show our support of the military," said Ann Goode, co-owner of Sportclips. "And this is a wonderful place to hold the party."

Filed under: Military, Events,

March 16, 2015 at 10:46am

Citizenship highlighted at Mt. Tahoma's JROTC competition

Naval JROTC Cody McCartney, a senior at South Kitsap High School, relaxes for a moment after inspection during the Northwest Drill and Rifle Conference. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Cody McCartney stood ramrod straight at attention.

In front of him stood a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadet from the University of Washington.

The inspector looked and sounded serious.

Very serious.

One of 21 Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from South Kitsap High School Wolf Battalion, McCartney, a senior, faced a barrage of questions as he stood for inspection.

"Who is the secretary of defense?" the inspector cadet asked McCartney.

"Sir, the honorable Secretary Ash Carter," came the automatic reply.

The inspector stared into McCartney's unmoving eyes.

"What is General Order Number 3," the inspector pressed as he moved an inch closer to McCartney.

"Sir, General Order Number 3 states that I am to report all violations of order I am instructed to enforce," McCartney calmly recited.

Satisfied with McCartney's answers, his uniform and the condition of his M1 Garand, the inspector turned on his heel and moved on to the next cadet.

The inspector began a whole new line of pointed questioning.

McCartney remained rock still.

>>> Cadets of the South Kitsap High School Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps enter the Inspection Deck during the Northwest Drill and Rifle Conference competition at Mt. Tahoma High School. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

This past Saturday, 31 high schools and more than 800 JROTC cadets from Western Washington and Northern Oregon gathered at Tacoma's Mount Tahoma High School for the annual Northwest Drill and Rifle Conference (NWDRC) competition.

Think of this competition as a tune-up for the final competition of the teams vying for the first three places.

"What you see here is a large civics class in action," explained Harold Vickers, Jr., senior petty officer, USN, (Ret.) and the South Kitsap team's Naval Science instructor.

"The JROTC program does not promote one service over the other; it exists to educate students in being good citizens, good Americans."

>>> A Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet from South Kitsap High School presents his M1 Garand Rifle for inspection. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Vickers also said that over the past year the South Kitsap cadets have performed more than 2,000 hours of community service.

The teams competed in the areas of both armed and unarmed drill, color guard, physical fitness and air rifle marksmanship.

The top three teams will move on to the conference championships.

Mount Tahoma High School will also host that championship.

For more information about the JROTC programs in local high schools, contact that specific school.

Filed under: Military, ROTC, Tacoma,

March 9, 2015 at 9:29am

47th Combat Support Hospital leads efforts to raise cancer research funding at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Sgt. 1st Class Madeline Diaz and Spc. Corey Seay, 47th Combat Support Hospital, hold hands as their heads are shaved to show support for the St. Baldrick Foundation. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

There are 175,000 reasons to shave your head.

That number represents the children who are annually diagnosed with cancer. Their fight against this deadly disease is an uphill brawl; more children in this country die of cancer than any other disease.

Saturday afternoon in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord MWR Special Events Tent, several dozen soldiers, family members and friends dropped by to have their heads shaved.

St. Baldrick - a play on words if ever there was one - touched every head.

A nonprofit public charity, the St. Baldrick's Foundation is a childhood cancer charity funding research to help cures for children with cancer. 

The foundation's name is not associated with a recognized saint of the Catholic Church but is founded on word play and the use of the title "saint."

>>> Staff Sgt Gregory Pfaff, 18th Engineer Company, holds his son, Richard, as his head is shaved. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Speaking of the path to secular saintliness, volunteers, sponsored by family and friends, had their heads shaved in solidarity with children who typically lose their hair during cancer treatment.

Some women gave up eight to 10 inches of their hair, from which wigs would be made for children.

"We're here today to honor the sacrifices that embody the Army family," commented Sgt. 1st Class Madeline Diaz, a platoon leader in the 47th Combat Support Hospital and the event's organizer.

She had a point. Just before having her head shaved, Diaz told the audience that she would wrestle with cancer and the treatment it entails ... for the fourth time.

That statement brought the clippers and small crowd to a momentary halt.

After processing the comment, the barbers from the Olympia Barber and Esthetics School, who yielded their clippers like Samurai warriors, resumed their skin close shaving.

"This is no big deal," said Staff Sgt. Gregory Pfaff, 18th Engineer Company, as he held his son, Richard, and sat next to wife, Stephanie, as they too had their heads shaved. "Your hair grows back."

And so does the fight against childhood cancer.

Since 2000, St. Baldrick's Foundation volunteers have organized almost 4,200 head-shaving events and shaved more than 191,000 heads, raising more than $120 million for children cancer research.

"Our son, Freddy, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2," said Chief Warrant Officer Carlos Henao, 47th Combat Support Hospital, as he sat next to his wife, Joselyn.

With chemotherapy the little boy soon went bald, and Henao twice gave up his hair in solidarity with his son's fight, one that he eventually won.

"This event is really, truly amazing," Henao continued. "It is great that we come together like this for a wonderful cause."

For more information about the St. Baldrick's Foundation, visit www.stbaldricks.org.

>>> Veteran Michael Henderson has his head shaved in support of children battling cancer. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

February 20, 2015 at 11:57am

Massing of the Colors in Tacoma

Begun in New York City on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1922 as a patriotic ceremony, the Massing of the Colors has become an annual event that salutes national pride and recognizes military service and sacrifice.

On Feb. 22, the Puget Sound Chapter of the Military Order of World Wars (MOWW) will sponsor the area's annual Massing of the Colors Ceremony. The event will begin at 3 p.m. at Stadium High School in Tacoma. Retired Maj. Gen. John Hemphill serves as the ceremony's grand marshal.

Active, Reserve and National Guard units, along with Senior and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets; armed services auxiliary organizations; state militias; veteran and civic groups; police, sheriff and fire departments; and Boy and Girl Scout organizations with a unit and American Flag are invited and urged to attend. The event is free and open to the public.

The ceremony typically begins with a march in of the various color guard units, followed by an invocation, the Pledge of Allegiance, singing of the national anthem and reading of the MOWW preamble. After remarks by the guest speaker and commander of the hosting MOWW chapter, the flags are blessed in honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, followed by the playing of "Taps." The colors are then retired.

Founded in 1919, MOWW is comprised of commissioned officers, warrant officers and flight officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, along with officers of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the United States Public Health Service.

The New York chapter of the organization inherited the responsibility for conducting the Massing of the Colors in 1927 after the original organization - a group of military officers, veterans and civic leaders known as the Society of the Massing of the Colors - disbanded. Now, chapters around the country conduct the ceremony each year.

The Puget Sound Chapter, founded in 2001 with the merger of the Tacoma and Seattle chapters, is the only chapter in the Pacific Northwest and includes Alaska, Oregon and Idaho. Its missions include patriotic education, ROTC programs and, of course, the annual Massing of the Colors ceremony.

Each June, the chapter sponsors the Northwest Youth Leadership Conference at Pacific Lutheran University, and its flag program helps educate school children around the region about significance of the National flag and other flags. The chapter also sponsors 52 Junior and Senior ROTC programs in its region, including Alaska and American Samoa, and holds an annual banquet to honor cadets who have excelled in their programs.

Organizations wishing to take part in the processional should call Col. Carroll Dickson at 253.566.5870.

Filed under: Community, Military, Tacoma, Ceremony,

February 17, 2015 at 9:47am

Military Saves Week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Learning to manage money is no easy task. It's not easy when you don't have any, and it can be just as difficult when you actually, finally have some extra cash to manage. The Financial Readiness Program on Joint Base Lewis-McChord is hosting a series of events Feb. 23 to 26 in conjunction with Military Saves Week to help members of the military understand some of the financial issues specific to them.

Thursday, Feb. 26, Holly Petraeus will be the featured speaker at a Military Saves Week Town Hall, which will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the American Lake Conference Center. As the assistant director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Petraeus is all too aware of some of the scams and fraudulent practices that target servicemembers and their families.

Town Hall topics will include consumer challenges such as predatory debt collection tactics, deceptive college recruiting practices and identity theft, scams and fraud.

"She's looking out for the military," said Mary Cron, Financial Program manager at Armed Forces Community Service on JBLM, "and the things the military may experience with businesses as a consumer."

Military life is unique in ways that may open the door for scams and fraudulent business practices. Deployments, frequent PCS moves and emergencies can lead to difficulties - particularly for younger military families - that can lead to dire consequences financially. Furthermore, some deceptive vendors take advantage of military families by appealing to their sense of service, a practice known as "affinity marketing."

"Younger [military] families basically are targets for predatory vendors," Cron said. "They get targeted the most. But we all know that just because you get older and wiser, there are still people that can take advantage of you."

So how are families to know which businesses are legitimate and which aren't? How can they learn to recognize the signs of fraudulent business practices? And if they've already been taken advantage of, where can they turn?

The town hall will feature remarks by Petraeus, who will explain her role at the CPSD, a government organization that strives to educate consumers about abusive practices, enforce Federal consumer laws and analyze information to better understand consumers and financial markets.

She will then open a question and answer session that will help servicemembers find the answers they need.

The idea, said Cron, is to teach servicemembers how to empower themselves with the knowledge about what's going on so they don't fall victim to a scam, and let them know where to turn if they do.

In addition to the Town Hall on Feb. 26, Military Saves Week on JBLM also features a series of Boot Camp classes Feb. 23 and 25 at Stone Education Center and Feb. 24 at McChord Field Education Center. Morning and afternoon sessions will feature topics such as Finding Money to Save (Budgeting), Thrift Savings Plan, Cost of Credit/Credit Reporting and Basics of Car Buying.

Family members, retirees, DoD civilians and members of the public who have base access are invited. All events are free, but reservations are required.

Finally, the Financial Program is challenging all military units on JBLM to take the
Saver's Pledge. "Pledge cards can only be obtained with a one-on-one appointment or attending one of the classes," Cron said. The unit with the highest percentage of savers will be announced at the Town Hall.

For more information or to RSVP for any of these Military Saves Week events, visit the JBLM Financial Readiness Program website. Users can also sign up for one of the many fiscal fitness classes offered each month.

February 10, 2015 at 10:07am

Washington National Guard 351st Aviation Support Battalion deploying to Kuwait

351st Aviation Support Battalion was honored in a deployment ceremony at the Washington National Guard Army Aviation Sustainment Facility #1 on JBLM, Feb. 8. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Dozens of military helicopters were the background for an important ceremony that took place last weekend at the Washington National Guard's Flight Facility on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

That's because all eyes were on Washington National Guard soldiers from Detachment 1, B Company of the 351st Aviation Support Battalion.

Last summer, these servicemembers had an important role in Washington state by assisting with battling wildfires that plagued Central Washington. 

Bravo Company provided critical maintenance operations for the Guard's helicopters as they dropped 2.5 million gallons of water over the Carlton Complex and Chiwaukum Complex fires. The unit ensured the helicopters continued to operate by working long hours into the night.

This summer, these servicemembers will be tasked with another important role, but this time thousands of miles away in Kuwait.

The unit of more than 35 Washington National Guardsmen will perform aviation maintenance support operations while deployed.

During last weekend's ceremony, the deploying servicemembers were surrounded by their fellow service members, friends and family, who were shown a special slideshow of some of the many recent accomplishments of the 351st. Attendees were also treated to the national anthem and Army Song performed by the 133rd Army Band, and of course, cake!

The 351st cased its colors during the deployment ceremony as part of its preparation to deploy to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

This is the first deployment for the 351st and will be the first under the command of Capt. Daniel Clemons.

Along with the traditional casing of the colors and remarks from the commander, deployment ceremonies are also important venues to connect with the families of the deploying soldiers.

Military families serve, too, and are left to maintain their households and communities while their service member is deployed.

>>> Pfc. Aaron Hamrick cherishes a hug from his daughter during a deployment ceremony for members of the 351st Aviation Support Battalion, Feb. 8. Hamrick will be joined by more than 30 other members of his battalion for a deployment to Kuwait to perform aviation maintenance support operations. Photo credit: Gary Lott

Although families may initially feel as if they are being left behind, the reality is these families receive support and training before, during and even after deployments, as well as the security of 24/7 support throughout.

These are just a few of the major impacts that make Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Programs & Family Programs across the nation so crucial and impactful for those still serving from home.

Spouses and significant others were provided with various resources and contacts and given the opportunity to connect with and ask questions of Washington National Guard Family Programs staff members. Military youth were given USO deployment bears that allow them to insert a photo of their deploying parent.

The adjutant general for the Washington National Guard, Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, joined other general officers and commanders for the departure ceremony.

This ceremony not only provided support from their peers and bosses, but also provided service members with the security of knowing that their families will be taken care of during their deployment.

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