Helping those who serve
TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI)- The 155th Armoured Brigade has returned from deployment to several locations in the Middle East. Saturday they attended an event to help transition from warrior to citizen-soldier.
The 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Tupelo, returned earlier this year from a nine-month deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield. And Saturday returning soldiers descended on the Bancorp South Arena for a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, a Department of Defense effort to promote the well-being of National Guard and Reserve service members, their families and communities by connecting them with local resources before, during, and after deployments.
Lt Colonel Christopher Jurney is Commander of the 1st Squadron of the 98th Cav Regiment headquartered in Amory. He is proud of how his unit performed their mission.
“I’m very proud to be a part of this organization, not only this organization, but this organization has made a lot of history. So being here, being able to thank the families, being able to thank the soldiers for their service and what they’ve done is huge, and very important to me as a commander,” said Lt Colonel Jurney.
Sergeant First Class James Hall is with the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment of the 2nd-of the 114 Field Artillery Regiment in Starkville. He says these events are invaluable for a returning soldier.
“My first two deployments I came home to these yellow ribbons and I listened somewhat, and I didn’t listen to everything, and I tried to zone out but this yellow ribbon I’ve learned a lot there is a lot more I’m taking home that I wish I had learned during my first deployment, or after my first deployment. So, my life could be completely different now had I listened as I should have,” said Sergeant Hall.
Specialist Brianna Irby serves with Hall. She is impressed with all the resources on hand.
“I really didn’t know which direction to go. And it’s nice that a lot of people are there to you know answer my question, especially about school. I was really anxious to get back to school we had those resources available today,” said Irby.
And besides educational opportunities, soldiers attended a job fair with representatives eager to utilize their job skills, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“With the FBI we look for a lot of the same values that the military instills. You know communication, collaboration, teamwork, dedication that kind of thing. So we always look to our military partners for some of the best recruits for our positions not only for special agent but other positions as well. And we also give veterans preference,” Erica Parker.
This is one of seven such events being held across the state as the 155 returns from its deployment. Even though the 155 is headquartered in Tupelo, it has members from every county in the state.
Dr. David Anderson is a motivational speaker and counselor who was on hand to give the troops encouragement.
“A lot of it is just coaching folks up, both soldiers and their family and loved ones, of how to navigate the deployment cycle and to where their deployment is not just like a downer but could be a time where they flourish,” said Anderson.
Approximately 11-hundred service members and their families took part in Saturday’s event.