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November Shirt Blast

Portrait of Master Sgt. April Scott

Portrait of Master Sgt. April Scott, 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, October 24, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

With the deployments coming up, I was asked to write about some readiness items. There are so many moving parts to preparing for departure, do you know the things to ask or think about?  Every rotation comes with process and system changes to keep us on our toes. I cannot incorporate everything in this article, but below are a few items even the most seasoned Airman needs to remember and common questions I’ve heard.

-What does Air Expeditionary Force (AEF), Agile Combat Support (ACS) or Reserve Component Periods (RCP) mean?

  • Aviation package deployment, referred to as AEF. Every unit is on an AEF scheduled rotation for possible taskings, if the Air Force needs us during our window/bucket we will be tasked to deploy. The AEF includes X number of airplanes nation needs plus the maintenance and support required for mission success. Every Airman travels together to the same location to support the jets.
  • Separately the ACS package is on an RCP scheduled rotation. Instead of the jets and support the 169th requires, the taskings are driven by the Air Force and Combat Commander requirements. Airmen travel separately within the six-month vulnerability period to support the war mission across the globe.

-I’m tasked! What do I do?

  • Connect with your Unit Deployment Manager (UDM), they will help guide you through the process and lead you to the answers and where to go.
  • Take matters into your own hands:  You can read the Reporting Instructions for the location requirements, log into AEF Online, AFRIT tab on the top and find your location.
  • Reporting instructions in combination with the tasking line remarks are the guidelines we use to prepare.
  • Uniforms, Base Supply orders uniforms per the reporting instructions. It is not like Amazon, it takes time… but they will get you what you need.

-What should I pack for deployment?

  • There is not one all-encompassing list. The reporting instructions will tell you the uniform items required, the out-processing checklist and e4005 will also help with job related requirements.

-Legal: Power of Attorney/ Will/ Service Member Civil Relief Act?

  • You may not have access to internet or reliable phone while deployed. A POA will allow a designated person to act on your behalf for business as required.  A Living Will legally designates what your wishes are in the chance you are hospitalized and unable to make decisions for yourself. Separately, a Health Care POA designates an individual to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. McEntire JNGB has a full-time legal staff to offer FREE assistance. The sooner you complete these legal matters, the better prepared you and your family will be!
  • Service members civil relief act, high interest loans, knock loan down to 6%. End rental lease, cell phone lease.  

-Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP), and Pre-deployment TriCare?

  • Yellow Ribbon events will have a representative to best speak to the ins and outs of the benefits Pre/Post TriCare offers. You are entitled to six months of Pre-deployment TriCare (or Tricare after the day your orders are cut—whichever is later) also, six months of post-deployment TriCare for FREE! You can also call TriCare to learn more.

-PreCheck anyone?

  • Load your DoD ID into your DTS profile. When your civilian airline ticket is booked you should have PreCheck on your ticket. J It is a nice benefit for leisure travel: your DoD ID is also the ‘known traveler’ number.

-I moved!

  • Your address in DTS has to match your orders. If the two don’t match, it can PREVENT you from getting paid correctly. Ensure your new address is loaded in: vMPF, MilConnect, DTS and vRed. No, the systems do not “talk to each other” and require updating separately to each - if something isn’t updating correctly call 169th FSS Customer Service (803-647-8725) and they may help force load the information.   

-When can I go on vacation when I get back?

  • Exact travel home is hard to predict and the in-processing requirements overrule any cruise you may have planned. It is usually a safe bet not to plan anything within a few weeks of your estimated travel home. Travel delays and in-processing requirements are likely.