CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa, Japan --
Five U.S. Marines and Sailors with 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade graduated from the Reboot Recovery program on June 3, 2021. The Reboot Recovery program is a Christian faith-based non-profit organization that focuses on helping military service members, first-responders and their families heal from moral and spiritual wounds caused by service or other event related trauma.
Reboot Recovery was brought to Okinawa by Erica Nordberg, a military spouse on Okinawa.
“I was introduced to this course in 2018, at my church in Stafford (Va.),” said Nordberg. “My family dealt with post-traumatic stress, but not in the military [combat] sense.”
The Nordbergs had adopted two daughters that came to them from the Philippines with severe issues caused by early childhood trauma. Nordberg said after years of fighting the battle and being in a desperate place, she jumped in on every resource that she could find, and that is when she stumbled upon Reboot Recovery, but could not complete it due to PCS’ing to Okinawa.
Since there was not a Reboot Recovery program in Okinawa, upon arrival Nordberg went to her pastor and chaplain and introduced them to the program in hopes they would start the Reboot program in Okinawa.
“When she approached me and asked if I could do it, I looked at the program and saw her passion for it,” said Cmdr. Robert Peters III, the chaplain with 3D MEB. “I knew then, she was the person to make it happen.”
In September of 2020, Nordberg and Peters opened Okinawa’s first twelve-week session of Reboot Recovery.
One of the graduates of the first session, retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Gonzalo Vasquez, now a contractor working as a mission assurance analyst with the 3D MEB, said he, as a new Christian, joined the group because he wanted to equip himself with the tools to help others in need.
Vasquez went on to become an instructor for the most recently-graduated class of 2021.
“I co-facilitated with Erica and Chaplain Peters for this course,” said Vasquez. “Going over the materials from the facilitator side I have gained more knowledge than from the principles and the things offered from the curriculum as a student.”
The curriculum covers ten topics over twelve weeks: A wounded soul, the roots of trauma, a restored soul, stop the bleeding, be free, the cost of un-forgiveness, when you’ve loved and lost, depression and suicide, made on purpose, and going through the valley.
At the end of the twelve weeks, participants share their stories and how they overcame them, or are still working through them.
“This course focuses on the readiness element that most service members with physical and emotional health issues don’t really mention or talk about,” said Peters. “It has a great impact on participants, because they learn spiritual fitness tools that they can actually put to practice.”
Peters then explained that the program fit perfectly into the spiritual lane of total fitness. He said that when people are spiritually sound and their souls are intact, as a person, they make better husbands, wives, citizens and service members.
“It comes down to making better moral decisions,” said Peters. “Having strong integrity makes them trustworthy.”
Nordberg explained that even though they talk about spiritual fitness from a faith-based perspective, you don’t have to have any particular faith to come to a Reboot Recovery program. The program is not a religious organization and does not affiliate with any specific denomination.
“This program works for everybody,” said Nordberg. “The idea behind Reboot is we all have trauma that affects the brain and the body. We all have a soul that is wounded and traumatized, and this program helps heal those soul wounds.”
Vasquez and Peters plan to hold another session of Reboot Recovery in early fall with hopes that every military base will eventually have a Reboot Recovery program.