LEXINGTON, Ky. –
The “Mountain Warriors” of 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment attended a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) at Heritage Hall March 18-19.
More than 200 Soldiers and their families attended the event that added to the more than 1.5 million individuals impacted by the program. The Soldiers were part of NATO’s Kosovo Forces (KFOR) mission as KFOR 30, marking the 30th rotation for U.S. Soldiers. For many of the Soldiers, this was their first deployment.
The event was attended by Army Brig. Gen. Brian Wertzler, the assistant adjutant general of the Kentucky National Guard, and Army Col. Timothy Starke, commander of the 75th Troop Command. Both spoke to the Soldiers and their families welcoming them to the event.
“Congratulations! This is the official end to your deployment,” said Starke. “Take advantage of all of the benefits that you have earned. Enjoy your time with your family, but cherish the times that you had with your brothers and sisters you deployed with. You will soon realize how much each of your brothers and sisters mean to you.”
The general spoke on the sacrifice that the families endure while their Soldiers were called away during their deployment.
“To the spouses and families that are here today, thank you,” said Wertzler. “You all serve just as much as your Soldier.”
The Soldiers had the opportunity meet with potential employers, like the Lexington Police Department, and were able to talk to representatives from various veteran programs, like Transition Assistance Advisors. Several other educational opportunities were presented to the Soldiers as well, including some information on the Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) program.
2nd Lt. Jesse Mascoe, the Kentucky State H2F Coordinator, spoke to the Soldiers about fitness and the importance that nutrition plays in overall wellness.
“How many of you have counted calories?” asked Mascoe. “More importantly, how many of you have counted and calculated your macros? Your nutritional readiness will fuel the path for the other domains of H2F.”
Sgt. 1st Class Cory Valdivieso, YRRP coordinator, has now coordinated more than six events for the state, including the pre and post-deployment events for the infantry battalion.
Since its inception in 2008, the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) has promoted the well-being of National Guard and Reserve members, their families and their communities, by connecting them with resources throughout the deployment cycle. These resources are presented a number of different times and they are available before, during and after the deployment. This multi-Service program has impacted more than 1.5 million individuals since its inception. The program and Command Teams share a common goal: to help maintain the readiness of the Force and to build stronger, more resilient families.
“The program itself is like a middleman that assists with opening two-way channel between useful resources and military families,” said Valdivieso. “I think the most beneficial part of the program is the open communication between the aforementioned.”
To learn more about the YRRP and all of the resources that it connects National Guard and Reserve members, their families and their communities with, visit their website at https://www.yellowribbon.mil/.
The Kentucky National Guard Soldiers represented a portion of the United States’ contribution toward the 3,600 troops provided to NATO’s KFOR by 28 countries working towards maintaining a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo.