Units & Initiatives

Operation Reentry NC

Over the last decade, U.S. military forces have been engaged in extended conflicts characterized by increased operational tempo, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. While most military personnel cope well across the deployment cycle, some will experience difficulty handling stress at some point; some will face psychological health challenges or will be affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI). Others deal with physical disabilities including impairments in vision, balance, gait, mobility, speech, hearing and/or cognition.

East Carolina University’s Operation Reentry North Carolina (ORNC) is a national research support organization developing novel technologies and approaches that address the resiliency, rehabilitation and reintegration concerns of our nation’s servicemembers, veterans, their families, as well as the civilian and military healthcare providers who care for them. ORNC mobilizes national civilian university expertise through university-military partnerships to:

  • identify and fund pilot research projects of military significance;
  • establish and operate advanced research and technology development facilities;
  • train civilian faculty and students to conduct research with the Department of Defense; and
  • disseminate research findings and best practices.

ECU’s reputation for research and its location in one of the nation’s most concentrated military corridors make it the ideal university to lead ORNC, which proudly brings together some of ECU’s finest researchers and projects under one umbrella to focus on the concerns and needs of returning service men and women and their families. More than 50 faculty, staff and students are engaged in projects involving three NC military bases and more than 10 military units. The projects examine military life with the goal of introducing new programs and services to improve health and quality of life before, during and after deployment.

OIED and ORNC: Working Together

The full community development, economic development and innovation capacities of OIED are deployed to 1) enhance and facilitate ORNC’s objectives as a national research support organization; 2) utilize ORNC as a catalyst for innovation, community development and economic development outcomes; and 3) develop a model of community-based veteran/family wellness and reintegration that can be replicated statewide and nationally. This action is in response to the Center for a New American Security’s recommendations in its April 2012 report Well After Service: Veteran Reintegration and American Communities and the White House’s Joining Forces initiative.
OIED is partnering with the City of Greenville, local/ regional economic development organizations, the veterans Administration, area health care providers, and non-profit groups such as Hope for The Warriors to establish a community based veteran/family wellness and reintegration program that recruits, reintegrates and retains veterans and their families. Additionally, these partners are developing best practices with other organizations such as Charlotte Bridge Home in Charlotte, NC. Together, these programs focus on developing a shared understanding of Veteran/ family wellness to ensure that community-based efforts contribute most effectively to their shared goal of reintegration.

Operation Reentry North Carolina is a research and development project conducted by East Carolina University made possible by a cooperative agreement awarded and administered by the U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command (USAMRMC) and the Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), at Fort Detrick, MD, under Contract Number: W81XWH1120221.

The Operation Reentry Priority Fund

The Operation Reentry Priority Fund leverages private resources to enhance the flexibility, impact
and reach of Operation Reentry North Carolina. The fund provides support in the form of awards, scholarships, sponsorships, purchases, travel/ transportation and other education, research and outreach initiatives designed to benefit military service personnel, veterans and their families, as well as military, Department of Veterans Affairs and civilian healthcare providers who care for them.

The Operation Reentry Fellows program recognizes and rewards outstanding doctoral students through annual scholarships. These doctoral students directly support several of ORNC’s applied research projects focusing on resiliency, rehabilitation and reintegration needs of our servicemembers, veterans and their families.


James R. Menke, Master Chief U.S. Navy (ret.)
Military Research Liaison and Project Manager for Operation Re-entry North Carolina
Office of Innovation and Economic Development
East Carolina University
Office: 252-737-1354
Cell: 850-377-2189
Email: menkej@ecu.edu

Mail Stop 310
300 East First Street
Greenville, NC 27858-4353