Our TRibe

Air Force veteran Justin Rigdon explains why members of Team Rubicon are uniquely bound together by service.

Tribe: a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.

In 2012, I graduated college with a degree in anthropology. I had spent the past three years of my life learning how to study and identify cultures. Ethnographically, I examined a variety of cultures throughout the world, especially in West Africa.

Many of these cultures use a tribal system to identify membership and maintain community. Tribes are not always directly related, they don’t always live in the same place and sometimes they don’t even know each other. However, they do tend to share a common culture and dialect, while also following a recognized leader.

Since 2010, Team Rubicon has been gathering people from all of the country with backgrounds so diverse it’s hard to imagine that anyone would have anything in common. Yet, when disaster strikes they rally together as one to serve the communities that need them most.

I joined Team Rubicon in early 2014, at a time when I was desperately seeking purpose in my life. I was completely disconnected from the veteran community; I had recently lost both my father and younger brother within seven months of each other and graduated college with a degree that wasn’t leading to a job. I was seriously wondering if I had any idea where my life was heading.

I remember my first event with Team Rubicon in Region IV, an ASIST training class in Nashville, Tennessee. This was the first time I really experienced the culture of Team Rubicon. There were approximately 30 (mostly) unrelated people in attendance, which had travelled to Nashville from all over the region (and a few from outside the region), yet they were like one big family. It was not uncommon to find Region IV members taking a break from the intense trainings by lying in a pile in the hallway. It was obvious that they were there for each other no matter what; you didn’t even have to say anything—just join the pile!


Almost a full year later, I travelled to Team Rubicon HQ in California for a two-day training class on the Salamander Technologies we will be implementing in the field. This time 20 leaders from all over the country migrated to California. As we arrived and began to meet the other class attendees as well as the staff at headquarters, it became apparent that the connectivity that existed in Region IV was not isolated. As introductions began, I realized that we were all the same, in one way or another.


During a Friday morning PT session on El Segundo Beach, I found myself running down the beach barefoot with six other Team Rubicon members. It was in that quiet primitive moment I came to a realization. Team Rubicon was our TRibe.


As members of Team Rubicon we all have a shared culture. Our desire to maintain purpose in our lives after removing the uniform binds us together. The language we carry from our prior service experience and current disaster training connects us. The leadership we receive from HQ drives us.

We are one. We are the TRibe.

Are you on the team? Prove it. Help unite this badass, service-minded community by tagging your photos online using #OurTRibe. We’ll find you. 

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