It takes a village to deploy a warfighter

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. (AFNS) -- Air Force Airmen prepare to deploy across the globe in support of national objectives every day.

To make this possible, installation deployment readiness cells and the unit deployment managers prepare and process members for deployment to unified combatant commands.

“If you ask me who bears responsibility for the success of a movement, it’s all of us,” said Master Sgt. David Southern, the 1st Maintenance Group UDM, explaining that UDMs give deployers guidance and requirements, the IDRC covers logistics and oversees planning, and ultimately, the deployer has to use the guidance set forth.

Where it all starts
The deployment readiness process starts with the IDRC, which acts as command and control for all deployments at an installation.

“Overall the IDRC has the big picture of who’s being deployed and when they’re tasked,” said Master Sgt. Jason Schroyer, the 633rd Air Base Wing IDRC section chief adding that the cell also covers logistics planning.

For Air Force bases like Joint Base Langley-Eustis, this picture includes overseeing the movement of approximately 2,000 deployers from five wings across the installation.

Along with oversight, the IDRC also sends taskings to UDMs and keeps the managers informed of any updates associated with the assignment, such as training, equipment, transportation, theater entry and medical requirements.

“The combatant commanders face an ever changing landscape that requires adaptability, we need to be tracking those changes and implementing them as they are established,” said Schroyer. “That’s why it’s important to maintain communication and keep information flowing to UDMs, if we miss something, an Airman could be sent down range ill prepared or ill equipped to perform their mission.”

Working with the deployer
While the IDRC works the logistics of deployments, it’s the UDM’s task to work with the units and individuals deploying.

According to Southern, UDMs not only guide people through deployment readiness requirements, but they also help units with selections.

“Sometimes flight chiefs don’t know, but I see and do this every day,” said Southern. “A flight chief will tell me ‘I need five guys,’ and I’ll tell them ‘you’re probably going to need seven,’ because of what we’ve seen happen before with similar scenarios.”

Once the selections are made, the mission for the IDRC and UDMs remains the same: Prepare the deployer as much as they can by keeping them up-to-date with requirements and any changes, but in the end the responsibility to follow the guidance falls with each individual.

“Emerging area of responsibility requirements can affect whether our Airmen are adequately ready for a deployment. The effects of not keeping up to date on the latest changes can reverberate into the area of responsibility during the mission,” said Schroyer. “For example, you arrive and everyone is wearing a different uniform than you, or you did not get the memo that you needed to be issued the latest eye protection. You're now either scrambling to catch up and find a supply troop to get the gear, or you're out there during a sand storm and realizing how handy that memo would have been.”