Deployed Yokota airman provides great care for Marauders
SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Reviewing request after request for passenger travel may seem like a monotonous job to some, but for two lone Airmen from the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron it is their responsibility to ensure all requests for passenger travel are taken care of in an expeditious manner.
The job requires attention to detail and an intimate knowledge of the regulations governing passenger travel to take care of hundreds of Marauders.
"We schedule travel for all those who are redeploying back to their home stations," said Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Watts, 386th ELRS traffic management office passenger travel specialist. "In addition to redeployers, we take care of anyone leaving for temporary duty assignments, those who are being reassigned and anyone departing on emergency leave."
Those who are redeploying and being reassigned will need to work through their unit travel representative. Once the UTR confirms that the military member needs to depart, then Watts and his supervisor, Tech. Sgt. Christopher Carter, traffic management office NCO in charge of passenger travel, will book them on a military rotator or commercial flight.
"We work hand in hand with UTRs who provide us with the redeployer's orders and other pertinent information needed to book their travel," said Carter who deployed from 374th LRS, Yokota Air Base, Japan. "We also accomplish our job with the help of the logistics plans office. They'll let us know when the redeployer can leave."
UTR is an additional duty across the wing. There are very few people who don't have a UTR and those individuals can work with passenger service directly. Otherwise, there is one in each squadron who can assist redeployers with whatever their needs are.
Staff Sgt. Shannon Olsen, a chaplain's assistant, manages the additional duty of a UTR for the 386th AEW Staff Agencies and is responsible for tracking unit members who are scheduled to redeploy. Olsen, who deployed from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota uses several Excel documents and information systems to do this.
"I calculate what their available to 'load date' is, which is the member's report no later than date added to their estimated tour length, their turnover requirement with their replacement, which is usually three days, and one travel day" said Olsen. "This calculation gives me dates for each member that is 60 and 30 days before their redeployment date."
Carter and Watts coordinate approximately 25 to 30 requests every day and those numbers are expected to increase during the months, they said.
"Once we book a flight, the redeployer's ticket is generated three to four days before their departure," said Watts. "Once we have the tickets, we send it to their UTR."
One of the challenging things about Carter's job he says is travel which may require multiple changes. This happens when the flight is booked and the redeployer requests a change.
"The other challenge is interpreting complex entitlements and situations to ensure that we don't misuse government funds," said Carter a native of San Diego, California. "We also support those who are being reassigned."
For those who are redeploying and moving to a new base, they will provide assistance with household goods as well.
"We can answer all questions about household goods. We will work with the applicable base to arrange for shipment of household goods as necessary," said Watts, who deployed from MacDill Air Force Base, Florida and is a native Floridian. "Additionally, when we have Airmen who have to go on emergency leave, we will book them straight through to their destination"
Passenger travel deals with the entire AOR and will take care of travel for anyone here who is being assigned to a forward operating base. They also notify units on The Rock of incoming Airmen.
"The most rewarding thing about this job is being part of a team that's responsible for getting our Airmen home to their loved ones," said Carter.
If your mission involves traveling outside of The Rock, you can be assured that passenger travel will have your ticket out.