926th Wing Airman taking care of deployers

  • Published
  • By Natalie Stanley
  • 926th Wing

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Master Sgt. Randi Ross, 926th Wing Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program coordinator, is a vital part of the installation personnel readiness office deployer’s check list.

Her job is to ensure all deployed members have a chance to attend a YRRP event if they choose to.

The YRRP is a Department of Defense-wide effort to promote the well-being of National Guard and Reserve members, their families and communities, by connecting them with resources throughout the deployment cycle. Through Yellow Ribbon events, Service members and loved ones connect with local resources before, during, and after deployments.

Deployers have four months prior to deployment and one-year post-deployment to attend two YRRP events. Their families are also eligible to attend during the Airmen’s deployment.

Although COVID-19 restrictions have caused event cancellations in March and April, Ross has been planning for each event as though they are still going to happen.

“We have been planning and planning until they [Air Force Reserve Command YR director] say stop and then we move onto the next event; which we are already working,” she said.

Ross is now planning for one event in June, two in July and three in August, since prior cancelled events have been pushed back to later this fiscal year.

One of the major challenges Ross has been working through is making sure members get to attend, even if they fall outside their allotted window due to military stop movement restrictions.

“What they are doing is saying go ahead and allow them to sign up and we are putting in waivers,” she said.

Due to the ever-evolving COVID-19 guidelines, families who may have missed a pre-deployment event will also have the opportunity to attend an event while their Airman is deployed.

The events hosted by the YRRP are an opportunity for pre and post-deployers to get information that they and their families will need during their deployment and after.

Airmen can attend the event with up to two guests. The event is geared towards those who will support the member during their deployment and when they get home.

“It’s a support system,” Ross said. “I even tell them ‘Hey, if the mail man happens to become your best friend and that’s who's been supporting you while you’ve been deployed, sign them up’.”

The events provide tools and resources to help the Airmen’s support system be better prepared to navigate the military world during deployment and help the military member reintegrate into their civilian lives post-deployment.

While the YRRP events are not mandatory, Ross highly encourages members to take advantage of the opportunity.

“A lot of people think they’re going to get held hostage like a timeshare briefing,” she said. “The people that are hesitant I encourage them to just go one time. Our events are not boring, it’s always fun and I always learn something new.”