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Return and Reunion Workshops Prepare BHR ARG/MEU for Home

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Joseph Seavey Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group Public Affairs

JAVA SEA – Sailors and Marines operating at sea with the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) took time to attend classes provided by the Fleet and Family Service Center (FFSC) in preparation for their scheduled return to San Diego after seven months on deployment.

The return and reunion workshops offer a variety of topics designed to help military personnel break from the daily routine of shipboard life and get back into the swing of normal life with loved ones.

“Our goal is to reach as many people as possible and give them as much information as possible to be better equipped at home because ship life is so much different,” said Denise Zuniga, the FFSC representative who traveled to Malaysia in order to embark USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) for the transit back to San Diego.

The return and reunion workshops are also being provided by FFSC representatives aboard USS Cleveland (LPD 7) and USS Rushmore (LSD 47), which are also part of the ARG.

Classes are offered to Sailors and Marines who became new parents during deployment and are returning home to newborns they’ve not yet seen. Married personnel are provided tips on reconnecting with spouses and improving communication.

“This is a great way for Sailors and Marines to take a look at the ways they have changed over the course of deployment and realize that even though we’re not at home life goes on for our loved ones,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class (SW) Jared Thomp son, who attended two workshops.

“The classes I attended were very informative and gave me a lot of good ideas about ways to reconnect and re‐bond with my wife, son, and daughter when I get home,” Thompson added.

“We come out because we found that it really helps Sailors and Marines go back and not have as many problems reintegrating because they’ve been reminded and they take it back with them,” said Zuniga.

Sailors and Marines are also provided information on making smart financial decisions, managing stress, and suicide prevention. In addition to the shipboard workshops, FFSC offers similar sessions for both family and service members ashore. Classes are offered on resume writing, interview techniques, nutrition, and general health.

“After being here only a couple of days you can see there is a lot of camaraderie,” said Zuniga. “You see the same person over and over again and it’s all about you taking care of your shipmates our here, but now it’s time think about taking care of your family.”

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