Members of the Naval Operational Support Center and their families attended a day-long Deployment Readiness Training, held at the NOSC, Building 2630 on Dec. 1.
The training, held annually and arranged by NOSC staff, falls under the umbrella of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program and is provided to members within 18 months of deployment to an overseas area, or for those being placed in a ready mobilization pool, according to Lt. Cmdr. Eric Cottrell, NOSC commanding officer. Since the training is mandatory, it is provided to everyone regardless of his or her deployment status, to ensure no one is left out, added Cottrell.
Representatives from support organizations such as the Staff Judge Advocates Office, Psychological Health Outreach Program and Military One Source, were among the organizations that took time to provide large, group briefings and individual counseling sessions for members and their spouses. During free periods, members were given opportunities to gather written materials and spend time with their children at an on-site childcare facility.
The scope and effectiveness of the Deployment Readiness Training concept apparently has evolved over time and grown from a simple family fun day to a well organized, informative training event focused on providing members and their spouses vital information for use while the member is away.
Officials add that larger Navy commands provide two-day training seminars, open to all branches of the military, because the likelihood of serving under a joint command while deployed has increased over the years. This type of event will bring U.S. forces together under relaxed conditions, unlike those at forward operating locations.
“This is the first time I have attended a Deployment Readiness Training of this scope,” said HM1 Scott Bruce, Navy corpsman and person largely responsible for organizing the day’s activities. “I was added to a deployment in 2010 but only received the basic information. The information we received here from the financial and legal areas was important, just in case a member was injured or worse. Even if nothing happens, it makes decisions easier for the spouses left at home.”
Spouses attending the event also seemed to appreciate getting the information first hand because military members don’t always share the information until they are ready to deploy.
Ms. Melanie Valdes, wife of U.S. Navy, E4, Master at Arms, Ian Golditch spoke about the value of the training and what it meant to her.
“I had never come to one of these before. My husband is a San Bernardino County Deputy Sheriff and with him being gone, I now have a network of people he works with as a support group. After coming to one of these, I have a clearer understanding of how the system works and for me that is priceless.”
Navy Capt. Russell Allen, deputy commander, Navy Region Southwest, Reserve Component Command was the guest speaker early in the event and provided his comments about how, in the past, redeployment forums fell short of what was really needed.
“In 2003 my squadron was mobilized, so we sent about 100 people through the Navy Mobile Processing Site and they got us through. However, when we came back from deployment we did the post deployment-screening checklist and after a brief review, were sent back to duty. We did not get any help. There was not any returning warrior workshop, there was nothing.
Captain Allen further explained how Sailors were not fully prepared to deal with issues such as the threat of imminent death, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “That’s the stuff that was ripping these families and the Special Operations communities apart. We weren’t prepared to deal with it.”
“My wife asked if the Navy had some sort of marriage retreat for redeploying Sailors, because after being home for a while, many families were breaking up — there was not then.” Capt. Allen added, “Now, we have these essential services and the Deployment Readiness Training is a big part of the Navy recognizing the need to get in front of the problem.”
“This is a one-stop-shop to get it all done. You are full up and ready to go and more importantly, your family is ready for your departure,” said Cottrell.
With suicide rates among military personnel skyrocketing, the family members are going to be the ones who know when there is a problem, added Cottrell. “They interview all of the shipmates and they all say the person looked great, or they didn’t know there were any problems. Then, when speaking with the family, they provide a very different answer. They usually comment that they knew there was something wrong, but did not know what to do,” he said.
Having Deployment Readiness Training ensures families are aware of the resources. “I think this is probably the most important point this program addresses between the pre-deployment and post-deployment issues,” said Cottrell.