News Releases

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Chambliss, Isakson Introduce Legislation to Create Guard Reintegration Program  

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today introduced legislation that would create a reintegration program for National Guard personnel returning from combat.  This program would ensure that servicemembers and their families receive the training and assistance they need in order to successfully transition from the battlefield back to civilian life.  The legislation is modeled after the Minnesota National Guard's "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" program.

Specifically, the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program created by this legislation will focus on support for Reserve Component soldiers and their families during each of the four phases of their deployment cycle including pre-deployment, deployment, demobilization, and post-deployment. The events and activities created by this legislation include family and marriage counseling, financial planning and education, small business planning, community outreach, and healthcare and veterans benefits education. The bill would also require reintegration activity seminars 30, 60, and 90 days after soldiers return home to assist returning troops and their families with specific challenges presented by the reintegration process.

"The Minnesota program is a great model we can use to create a national program to help our returning Guardsmen and women," said Chambliss, a member of the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  "In this era of new threats, they are being called upon more and more, away from their families and their civilian employment for extended periods of time to defend and protect our nation.  This is a way to give something meaningful back to them following their combat deployment.  I also think it is particularly noteworthy that our bill encourages the employment of wounded servicemembers and returning combat veterans."

"Since the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, our nation has depended on our National Guard like never before in waging the war on terror, and this program will help see to it that the treatment and services we give these individuals are equal to the sacrifice they have made for our country," said Senator Isakson.

Lieutenant General David Poythress, the Adjutant General of Georgia said, "I think this is a much needed program, and I am particularly impressed with the inclusion of a six month post deployment period during which service-member re-integration is monitored.  Family problems don't always surface until after servicemembers are back in the States, so the fact that the post deployment phase lasts six months after the deployment ends is very important."

The bipartisan legislation is also sponsored by Senators Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.