Preparing for Return, Reunion and Reintegration (R3)
A great deal of attention is paid to the preparation for the beginning of the deployment when the Sailor leaves their families and partners for overseas operations. We can all understand the worry and the feelings of loss and loneliness a military deployment can bring to a family. But the return and reunion with families and partners can be just as stressful -- sometimes more so. Homecoming has been described as the most thought about and yet least prepared for part of a deployment. The difficulties and strains of return can be surprising and sometimes painfully disappointing to military families. But there are steps IA Sailors and their loved ones can take to make the transition back as joyful and stress-free as possible.
The BOG phase is the time to start planning for the relational impacts of R3. At a minimum, consider reviewing these resources and discussing them with your loved ones at least three months out from you return date.
- The comprehensive MilitaryOneSource deployment guide provides tips for planning successful family reunions beginning on page 147.
- Returning to Homelife After Deployment is an outstanding article at Military.com that helps Navy families think about R3 in advance of homecoming, how to plan the first day, the first week and the first months.
- Armed Forces Crossroads' online pamphlet helps IA Sailors consider the challenges associated with coming home in the following five categores: (1) reunion and the single member; (2) reunion and marriage; (3) reunion and children; (4) reunion and single parents; and finally (5) reunion and work.
- The National Military Family Association hosts helpful articles on Reunion and Reinitigration. The USMC Return and Reunion Guide hosted there is one of the more thorough and practical handbooks for planning for R3 available.
- Wife-on-the-Roller-Coaster has written an insightful blog post that can help IA Saiors understand and anticipate the feelings of their spouses better than they might otherwise.
- Grace After Fire focuses on helping women vets reintigrate in their families as wives and mothers.
- The Returning from a War Zone Family Guide is a Veterans' Administration publication which helps both the Sailor and their family through the readjustment process following a war zone mobilization. It contains simple, straightforward information supported by veteran testimonials.
For separating Active Duty or demobilizing Reservists seeking new career opportunities, the BOG phase is the time to begin revising the resume, networking and updating professional certifications. For those who don't have a job to return to,
- Military One Source provides a number of career-focused resources, including its comprehensive deployment guide, Transition Assistance center, Transition Assistance for Acitve Duty center and Separating from the Military as an Active Duty Reservist.
- DoN and DoD resources include the Transition Assistance Program, the Transition Guide: Reserve Component and CNIC's Military Families in Training online course.
- The Verteran Career Transition Program is a free service for post 9/11 vets (and spounses) operated out of Syracuse University.
- Several government supported initiatives also exist to help veterans transition to the civillian workforce, including Hero2Hired, Feds Hire Vets, Troops to Teachers, DANTES-Kuder College & Career Planning Counseling Services, and the 100,000 Jobs Mission.
- Finally, there are numerous networking, mentoring and job-search-oriented sites designed to help vets, including the Veteran Mentor Network on LinkedIn (inlcuding free premium membership for veterans), ACP AdvisorNet, eMentor, Mentoring Plus, Workforce Opportunity Services, Vets in Tech, Vets in Medicine, The Mission Continues, Career One Stop, US Vets, Warrior 2 Cyber Warrior, Helmets to Hardhats, and many others.