Misawa Airmen evaluated on deployment prep
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The steady deployment of Airmen in support of combat, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations abroad is part of the U.S. Air Force's mission and requires meticulous coordination to employ.
Often times Airmen deploy with a mass group and on short-notice, making the job of all the agencies clearing Airmen for deployment a little chaotic.
Airmen began Phase I in an Operational Readiness Exercise to prove the 35th Fighter Wing's capability to deploy mass groups abroad on short-notice April 30, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan.
To ensure success, a personnel deployment function line was set up to streamline the process for verification of documents, training and logistics for those "deploying."
A PDF line encompasses members of a base's 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 35th Force Support Squadron, intelligence flight, legal office, finance office, and Airmen and Family Readiness Center, among other supporting agencies.
By issuing field gear necessary for deployment, Staff Sgt. Desiree Reyes, 35th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCO in charge of individual protection equipment, and her team provide Airmen with supplies needed to keep them prepared and alive downrange.
With groups of up to 60 Airmen showing up at any given time, her team is the first to make sure Airmen can begin processing through a personnel deployment function line.
"We issue gas masks, vests, helmets, sleeping bags, individual first-aid kits, and even weapons if the mission calls for it," said Reyes.
She says she's confident in their ability to successfully accomplish their mission because of the recent execution of a real-world mass deployment with personnel from the 13th Fighter Squadron, 35th Maintenance Group and other 35th Fighter Wing units. Their deployment to Southwest Asia was planned out months ahead of time, which gave Reyes' team time to prepare.
But this exercise has been different than expected. It was designed to test short-notice reactionary skills.
While it has proven to be a little challenging with initial groups of Airmen spontaneously showing up, her team is executing the mission alongside fellow squadron augmentees, says Reyes.
Once Airmen have proper inventory, they are then escorted to the PDF line where their mobility folders are reviewed, says Reyes.
Tech. Sgt. Lindsay Matthews, 35th FSS, NCO in charge of PDF line, explains that her team ensures Airmen have all requirements they need for deployment.
"We verify they have all their training done prior to going downrange," Matthews said.
The PDF line checks for locator and emergency data cards, computer-based training, and weapons qualification, among other documents.
"The difficult part is just making sure they have everything they are supposed to have," Matthews said.
Having been a part of PDF lines as a personnelist for her entire career, Matthews says these exercises are a beneficial way of keeping up their wartime responsibilities, ensuring each Airman is set to deploy.
"We want to make sure we keep accountability of everybody as they go through... that way we know we send the right people downrange," Matthews said.
In addition, Airmen also check in to finalize any remaining details with the transportation management office, public health, legal, finance, and immunizations for verification of health records. Once a final brief with other pertinent base agencies, the Airmen are ready to "deploy" abroad on their mission.