When Your Guard or Reserve Service Member is Called to Active Duty
Your spouse or partner is preparing for deployment and transitioning from reserve status to active duty. Take advantage of several deployment support programs. They can help you with everything from mobilization to your service member's reintegration. The following support services are available to assist you during this deployment:
- Command communications
- Military and Family Support Center
- Yellow Ribbon events and family readiness activities
- Military OneSource
- Family Assistance Centers
- Your unit's family support staff and volunteer network
Your command leadership will provide information to you as efficiently as possible through a unit website, email, a toll-free number and or automated multimedia communication systems.
Military family support websites
The Department of Defense and each branch of the military provides online information for military families, including those in the National Guard and reserves. These websites will tell you about:
- Services such as Military OneSource (specifically the Deployment section), the National Military Family Association , the Office of the Secretary of Defense Reserve Affairs and each of the military branch's websites
- Points of contact
- Links to additional sources of support and opportunities to interact with other military families, such as the Family Readiness System
You can register on the Joint Services Support site to get information on resources in your state, online forums, eLearning opportunities, local event calendars, and information and referrals on quality-of-life issues.
Yellow Ribbon events and family readiness activities
Military commands typically host Yellow Ribbon events to help families prepare for and stay strong during and after a deployment. The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program can:
- Prepare service members and families for deployment
- Sustain them during deployment
- Provide information and support for reintegration
At pre-deployment events, you and your service member will learn about benefits and support, such as:
- Military pay
- Financial readiness
- Family care plans
- Family support through the military
Events during deployment provide information and outreach to family members to help with the impact of separation and connect you with other families going through the deployment. Family and deployment readiness means knowing and using the resources available to you. During a deployment, you may:
- Have financial or legal questions
- Need support for your children
- Have concerns about your emotional well-being
- Want to connect with other military families
After service members return home, Yellow Ribbon activities help families reconnect and readjust. Participate in these activities and get information on:
- Communication challenges
- Relationship stress
- Combat stress
- Department of Veterans Affairs benefits
Ask questions and receive information answers from briefings and group discussions. You'll also meet unit leaders, family support professionals and volunteers who will be important resources during the deployment. Check out Yellow Ribbon events online and Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.
This no-cost, 24-hour service is available to all active duty National Guard and Reserve members (regardless of activation status) and their families. Consultants provide information and referrals on a range of issues, and can help military families navigate each stage of the deployment cycle.
No-cost counseling sessions are available face-to-face, online, or by phone or video. Call 800-342-9647 or go to Military OneSource to learn more.
Family Assistance Centers
Family Assistance Centers are located in every state to serve geographically dispersed military families. They provide information, outreach and referrals to services in your community and serve all active and reserves service members and families. To find the nearest Family Assistance Center, use the Resource Finder at the Joint Services Support website.
Installation family support programs
Immediate family members of active duty National Guard or reserve members are entitled to use services at military installations. These resources offer a variety of professional support services, and information and referrals to community resources. The centers include:
- Marine Corps Community Services
- Fleet and Family Support Centers
- Airman and Family Readiness Centers
Use MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to find contact information.
Unit family support staff and volunteer network
National Guard and reserve commands have organized family support systems of staff and volunteers, such as:
- Family assistance coordinators
- Family readiness assistants
- Family readiness officers
- Other designated family support specialists
It's easier to ask for help when you need it if you get to know key staff and volunteers before your service member deploys.
Support for children
There are many forms of support available to National Guard and reserve parents, children and caregivers, including:
- Operation Military Child Care
- Our Military Kids
- National Military Family Association
- Military Child Education Coalition
Use these programs and resources to help your children cope with the emotions that can come with having a deployed parent.
Seek community support
Look for support outside the military community — neighbors, coworkers, school personnel or leaders in your religious organization about any support services they offer or recommend.
Take care of yourself
Don't forget to take care of yourself during your loved one's deployment. Remember that family separations and deployment can be an opportunity to nurture your own physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Plan for your deployment
Manage the deployment process by knowing as much as you can about your benefits and support resources available. Be proactive about getting support at home before, during and after your partner's deployment to ensure a positive experience.