Magazine article VFW Magazine

Working in Your Home State

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Working in Your Home State

Article excerpt

Assisting vets of National Guard and Reserve units from your state offers a perfect opportunity to introduce VFW.

The recent announcement that four National Guard brigade combat teams (BCT) will be deployed to Iraq in 2008 underscored an important point-that working at the state level is the best means to tout what an asset VFW can be for returning war veterans.

Some 13,000 troops from the 37th (Ohio), 39th (Arkansas), 45th (Oklahoma) and 76th (Indiana) brigades have been alerted for duty. Perhaps one-third of current unit members has already been to Afghanistan or Iraq and will be returning for a second tour. A significant number of vets of these teams are already back in the civilian world.

Ironically, the last National Guard BCT-1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division (Minnesota National Guard) -in Iraq will be coming home in July. Its state, as profiled in this month's issue, has a unique reintegration program (which includes all resident veterans) called "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon." As founder and state Guard Deputy Chaplain Maj. John Morris said, "Since there are so few of us fighting the war, it's easy for the rest of us to try to help."

New Hampshire and Maryland also offer transition assistance courses tailored to reservists in the hometowns of their units. New Hampshire's "Reunion and Reentry" program, created in 2004, was a model for other states, including neighboring Massachusetts and New Jersey. Besides informal briefings, New Hampshire mandates individual psychological counseling as part of the three-day process. …

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