Yellow Ribbon is here to help

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Gabrielle Bates
  • 908th Airlift Wing

I’m Master Sgt. Gabrielle Bates and I am the Yellow Ribbon Coordinator for the 908th Airlift Wing. I have been in this position since March 2021. I would like to take a few moments and talk to you about the Yellow Ribbon Program.

The Yellow Ribbon program started in 2008 as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act. The program began as a resource to assist Airmen and their families as they transitioned between their military and civilian roles. The program has grown over the years to assist Airmen and their families in other ways. 

The mission of the Yellow Ribbon Program is to connect Reserve Airmen and their loved ones with the resources to help them before, during, and after deployments.

As a Yellow Ribbon Coordinator, the majority of us are service members who have deployed previously and can relate to the rigors of the deployment cycle. We bring in the subject matter experts with the needed resources and contact information to YOU, the service and support members, in one place. A few session topics include financial health, wills & power of attorney, effective communication skills, the new single service members program, retirement benefits, and pre-post-deployment checklists. 

Even if the service member has deployed several times, we encourage them to bring their families and support system to help them prepare and connect because every deployment is different with its own unique challenges. Service members are entitled to attend one pre-deployment event before deploying and two post-deployment events upon returning.  The “Post 2” program also offers a couples enrichment program for you and your significant other. Childcare is provided during Yellow Ribbon Events by licensed professionals.

During the last year, the 908th AW executed the largest deployment in the history of the Wing by sending nearly 300 members out the door. During this time, there have been approximately 200 members from the 908th AW attend Yellow Ribbon events from coast to coast. Those members were able to bring their families along to the events so everyone could gain a better understanding of what was being offered.  

If you have plans to deploy in the future, you can attend one pre-deployment event prior to leaving. If you have recently returned from a deployment and would like to attend a post-deployment event, you have up to one year to attend two of these events. This is a valuable program that has lots to offer service members and their families. If you are interested in attending a pre or post-deployment event, please send me an email or come see me to get you registered.