Yellow Ribbon Support Program begins on base
By Tech. Sgt. D. Clare, 123d Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 14, 2011
KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- When it comes to connecting Wing families with information, services, referrals and outreach surrounding deployments, it could be said that the unit takes support so seriously, it's called in the Marines.
Or, at least, one Marine.
Cecil Goodloe, a retired Marine first sergeant, was recently appointed the 123rd Airlift Wing Yellow Ribbon Program support specialist. As an infantryman who retired in 2008, Mr. Goodloe deployed extensively. As a father and war veteran, he knows the importance of taking care of members and their families.
"When we came back from Desert Storm we didn't have this program and we could have used it. The Yellow Ribbon Program is going to be a tremendous benefit for these servicemembers now who are coming back from Iraq, Afghanistan or any other place after a period of time," Mr. Goodloe said.
As the program coordinator, Mr. Goodloe will be working closely with every deployed member to identify needs and help with reintegration. When Airmen return, they can expect to spend some time with the former Marine, who will be on a mission to ensure they transition smoothly back to civilian life.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a mandatory, Defense Department-wide initiative to ensure Reserve and Guard members get the help and resources they need when they're called to active duty.
In addition to his personal experience as a veteran and five years as a family readiness officer on active duty, Mr. Goodloe has extensive training on post-traumatic stress disorder recognition and familiarity. His job is to ensure members - especially those facing or returning from deployments - know about their benefits and entitlements. He'll engage returning members and bring additional resources to their attention. Returning members can count on learning about the VA, TRICARE benefits and other military and civilian support providers. He'll be available for family members who need special resources or counseling.
"We're dealing with a totally different post-9/11 world. The ops tempo is incredible. It wasn't 10 years ago, many people in the Guard joined for schooling or extra money," said Mr. Rooney. "Now we're seeing our Guard members in combat support roles throughout the world. There's a new purpose, and with that purpose comes the need for extra support and resources."
The Jeffersontown native will work closely with Dave Rooney, 123rd Family Support Program director.
"I don't think people know how fortunate the Wing is to have someone like Mr. Goodloe on our team. He's one of the most respected Yellow Ribbon Coordinators in the country," said Mr. Rooney.
"It's stressful to have a family member leave for duty and it's difficult to ease back into life at home for members and their families. But there's no reason for anyone to feel alone or like they don't have resources," Mr. Rooney said. "Cecil and I are here. We're going to work together, and if you need help or anyone you know needs help, please help us serve them and let us know what we can do to make an even greater impact."
Mr. Goodloe, who has established identical programs for the Army, said he hopes to provide some solace to deployed members and their families while supporting the Wing's mission abroad.
"We've learned long ago how important family readiness and support is in accomplishing our military mission. Frankly, when a member deploys, he or she can face any number of challenges in a remarkable way - but for them to perform to the best of their abilities, they need to know there is some peace at home," said Col. Bill Ketterer, interim 123rd Airlift Wing commander. "Our Yellow Ribbon Support Program is going to give our members and families that much more peace of mind knowing they are not alone during these challenging times even after they return home."