National Guardsman salutes the flag.

National Guard and Reserves Reintegration

You’re coming home after a deployment. It’s been a long time coming and you deserve to celebrate. But it’s important to know what other adjustments you might face post-deployment.

Heads up: what to expect

Returning service members can expect some challenges reintegrating. While other service members return to a military community where others have “been there, done that,” members of the National Guard and reserve go back to the civilian work force. Civilians generally don’t understand deployment. As a result: you may have a thin support network at the workplace.

Regardless of your military status, there are several tips that may be helpful to service members returning from deployment. These include: talking with others, being patient with yourself and those around you, and knowing when to seek help. More on helpful steps.

Tips for reentry

Let’s face it, change is hard. You’ll be reentering into family and personal life, as well as work. At work, you’ll face changes. This may range from new coworkers and different policies and procedures to new programs and leadership changes.

You may feel different about your old job. The intensity and teamwork of combat duty can do that. This is normal and part of reintegration — it's the final stage of the deployment cycle. Here are steps you can take to ease your transition back to work:

  • Meet with your supervisor. Before returning to work, discuss your duties and what’s new on the job. This can help make your first day easier. It takes time to ease back in. Ask about a plan to reenter your job.
  • Know your rights. The Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act protects employed National Guard and reserve service members called to active duty. Learn about your rights via Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve website.
  • Connect with Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. A great resource for National Guard and reserve members and their families that is helpful throughout the deployment cycle, including reentry to work.
  • Thank others. Showing appreciation to coworkers who filled in for you can go a long way. The support and workplace insight they may provide can help you.

Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program

Bookmark the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program as one of your favorites. The program is all about helping you and your family find what you need before, during and after deployment.

A one-stop source for all things deployment

Yellow Ribbon is an effort across the Department of Defense to promote the well-being of National Guard and reserve members, their families and communities by connecting them with resources throughout the deployment cycle.

Providing deployment-cycle information, resources and programs, Yellow Ribbon can help you address the unique challenges facing you and your family. This includes helping you connect with the military support networks and the deployment resources available to active service members.

Via Yellow Ribbon events, service members and loved ones connect with local resources before, during and after deployments. Reentry during post-deployment is a critical time for members of the National Guard and reserve. Yellow Ribbon can help.

Besides practical advice, Yellow Ribbon can help National Guard and reserve service members and their families to sort out:

  • Health care
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Financial and legal benefits

Remember, the military approach to solving problems may not work at your civilian job. Cutting yourself and others a break can help you to reenter normal life. Many employers will work with veterans to help them transition back into the workplace.

As a National Guard or reserve service member, you can also receive confidential, non-medical counseling and support through Military OneSource regardless of your activation status.