Returning Warrior Workshop Honors Sailors, Family Members
(October 31, 2010)
|NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (NNS - 10/27/2010) -- More than 140 active duty and
Reserve personnel and their families attended the Navy
Region Mid Atlantic Reserve Component Command's (NRMA RCC)
Returning Warrior Workshop (RWW) at the Gaylord National
Harbor Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.
RWW is designed to honor individual augmentee Sailors who
have been deployed in support of combat support operations,
and their families. The workshop supports these members with
reintegration and reunion after deployments, and addresses
the stresses that come from these situations.
NRMA RCCs Commanding Officer Capt. Brian Smith addressed the
crowd at the beginning of the ceremony to thank them for the
service they have rendered for their country and to tell
them that RWW is truly a celebration of their service.
"The nature of service is of course sacrifice, and I
understand that service members have sacrificed greatly,
particularly our Sailors in the reserve component," Smith
said. "You answer the call when it comes and leave life as
you know it for a year or more at a time going to the less
desirable places in the world to do a very difficult job.
"That sacrifice would not be possible without the on-going
steadfast support of the family and friends that you leave
behind. So this weekend is a celebration of your service and
to honor the service, sacrifice, and support. So we are here
for you. We are here to better appreciate the sacrifices
that you have made."
Mr. Phillip Brashear, an Army Reservist with the 159th
Aviation Regiment at Ft. Eustis and son of legendary U.S.
Navy Master Diver and Master Chief Carl Brashear, was the
guest speaker for the event.
"It is an honor to be here this morning, and I am so glad to
share this time with you as I am yet another Reservist
amongst fellow Reservists," Brashear said. "I wanted to
share some of my experiences and some of the influences that
I was exposed to, which made me the Reservist you see here
in front of you."
Brashear spoke to the crowd about his father's historical
mark on military history, from his start as an
under-educated African-American and his drive to become a
Navy diver, to ending up as one of the most influential
African-American Sailors. Brashear also discussed his own
experiences, and ended his speech with an emotional account
of a young corporal he met while on combat duty.
"During combat duty, I witnessed an improvised explosive
device (IED) going off on a convoy," he said. "I was there
to pick up a 19-year-old corporal who actually stepped on an
IED. He was a 19-year-old Marine, serving his country, who
lost his left foot and left hand. He was a former high
school baseball player....Ladies and gentleman, these are the
true heroes you never hear about, these are the guys that go
out and risk their lives day in and day out, risking life
and limb, and these are the true heroes."
Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Gabriel Mirelez,
assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Support 24 and a RWW
participant, said he was particularly touched by Brashear's
story and felt honored to be able to meet him.
"His story was very personal, and I feel that it really
motivated me," Mirelez said. "The story of his father, Carl
Brashear, will stick with me. I want to try to implement it
into my own life."
Throughout the weekend time was allotted for service members
and their families to attend break-out sessions regarding a
topic of their choice. These sessions allowed a more
personal environment where participants had the chance to
talk to others who have had similar experiences.
Topics during the event included warrior transitions,
spiritual and emotional well-being, telling your story,
couples reconnecting, financial management, focus on
fitness, stress management techniques and considering
redeployment. Confidential sessions with counselors were
"This workshop has helped me learn how to deal with the
deployment stresses and other things that deployment
brings," Mirelez said. "This is a great workshop; it is
Military members and guests were treated to a gourmet
banquet, with Rear Adm. Scott Sanders, deputy commander,
U.S. 2nd Fleet, thanking participants. Letters of
appreciation were given to Sailors and their families to
thank them for their continued support. Several military
spouses were in tears of gratitude after being honored with
"I want to thank everybody for being here," Sanders said. "I
know we have a lot of family members here, and they are
critically important. I appreciate the fact that spouses and
other family members support their service members. It can
be very hard dealing with those family situations at home,
the problems that arise, and endure the anxiety over what is
going on. That, in some sense, is much harder than going
forward, so I thank you very much to all of you who are here
Sanders said RWW is a quality program and a way that the
Navy can demonstrate how it values the service and
sacrifices from the returning warriors and their families.
"It is critically important that the Navy values what you
have done and what you may potentially do in the future,"
said Sanders. "That is why they have invested the time and
the resources to put on an event like this. I am honored to
be here, this is a pleasure for me to come, and it is a
pleasure for me to meet some of the people out in the
audience. This isn't just an event that's put on; it's
sincere and it's heartfelt."
RWWs are hosted throughout the country by Reserve component
commands, and are an important part of the Department of
Defense Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.
By Navy MC2 Katrina Parker
Region Mid-Atlantic Reserve Component Command Public Affairs
Navy News Service
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