25th CAB prioritizes the needs of warriors, families

| January 14, 2011 | 0 Comments
Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th CAB, 25th ID, participate in a paintball game during the WAQ program at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Dec. 3, 2010. (Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. | 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th CAB, 25th ID, participate in a paintball game during the WAQ program at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Dec. 3, 2010. (Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. | 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

 

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Amidst the joy of reuniting with loved ones, the unique needs of Soldiers returning from war, and their families, can be overlooked.

This oversight, however, has not been the case for the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division.

Leadership within the 25th CAB began prioritizing the needs of its Soldiers and their families upon the brigade’s return from Iraq, last summer, with a robust Soldier Reset and Reintegration Program that targets physical, emotional, spiritual, family and social dynamics with activities and events.

In addition to extended and immediate physical training upon redeployment, 25th CAB Soldiers also have the opportunity to participate in the Warrior Adventure Quest Program, according to Capt. Joaquin Dequintanaroo, brigade adjutant, 25th CAB. The recreational program features paintball, team-building events and several ocean-based activities. It also integrates behavioral health specialists.

Additionally, every 25th CAB Soldier meets individually with a behavioral health consultant two separate times.

A series of spiritually-based Strong Bonds retreats for both married and single Soldiers are also hosted in various locations throughout Oahu. Military Family Life Consultants are assigned to Soldiers and their families.

Battalions and their respective companies host formal, semiformal and casual Organizational Days; “Welcome Home” events; and hails and farewells to welcome new Soldiers and recognize departing personnel.

In addition, more than 300 Soldiers and their families have participated in a comprehensive Permanent Change of Station Expo, designed to better prepare them for the unique challenges of PCS requirements in Hawaii.

Finally, the 25th CAB has sponsored 17 iterations of the Returning Warrior Program. During the RWP, Soldiers are receiving information from financial, behavioral health and reintegration subject matter experts, specifically in areas where redeploying Soldiers and their families often have the most difficulties.

The planning and design for the 25th CAB’s redeployment program began several months before the first Soldier left Iraq for home, with a combined effort between 25th CAB’s rear detachment and the deployed staff.

Conducting a comprehensive and deliberate personnel reintegration and reset was paramount, said Maj. Rick Onderko, former commander, 25th CAB rear detachment, and now the executive officer, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th CAB.

“With our nation conducting sustained combat operations for the past nine years, our all-volunteer force and their families have been faced with a lifestyle that has required multiple separations,” Onderko said. “The potential exists for there to be friction. Therefore, it was imperative that we do what we can to minimize this potential, and assist our Soldiers and families through the process of reintegration.”

Onderko explained that the process of reintegration requires a “total Soldier and family” focus.

“Combat operations can affect a person in many ways,” he said. “To effectively reintegrate and reset, our approach (needed to be) comprehensive, which meant that it also needed to include family members. (To ignore families,) misses a very important part of our Soldiers’ lives.”

“When Soldiers first get home, they’re on a high,” said Sandra Crocker, mobilization and deployment specialist, Army Community Service, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii. “Allowing them time for block leave allows Soldiers and families to settle into life, which is when issues are often easier to identify.

“Once they settle in, it becomes more difficult to explain away symptoms like, ‘I am still having nightmares’ or ‘I am still not sleeping well’ or ‘I still have a short temper,’” she said. “Our goal is to help address those very real problems, and we do it in a variety of ways.”

One such way is the Act Resilient Training Program that uses improvisational comedy to decrease stress responses and restore resilience in half-day seminars for Soldiers called “Act Resilient.”

Act Resilient

For more information on the “Act Resilient” seminar, e-mail Genie@GenieJoseph.com or visit www.Act-Resilient.org.

 

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