Pre-Deployment Function: Total Force Integration

  • Published
  • By Capt. Ashley Walker
  • 913th Airlift Group

Active Duty and Reserve personnel from across Team Little Rock and Keesler Air Force Base deployed to support operations in Southwest Asia during the first week of 2019.  Families lined up along the flightline waving goodbye to loved ones with tears in their eyes. Behind the scenes are Force Support personnel ensuring deployers meet the combatant commander’s requirements and have the equipment to perform the mission downrange.

This was a historical first deployment for the 913th Airlift Group since becoming a classic association with the 19th Airlift Wing. It was also a first for many 913th Force Support Squadron personnel to perform pre-deployment functions alongside their active duty counterparts.

“Deploying this large of a group was challenging,” said Master Sgt. Brandy Ferguson, noncommission officer in charge of installation personnel readiness. “Even though we’ve deployed smaller teams before, sending an aircraft and maintenance contingency has its own challenges. I had to quickly learn this particular process and specific reporting requirements.”

Each deployment, region, and position demand various training and experience from personnel assigned to deploy.  FSS and unit deployment managers are crucial to deployment process: helping assign the right people, to the right deployment tasking, with the right training, and ensure the deployers arrive at the right time.

 “This deployment is the epitome of Total Force integration, from our support functions to combat airlift, everyone was willing to help,” said Senior Master Sgt. Stephanie Pickens, 913th FSS superintendent. “We will build upon this experience and relationships to improve our processes. Our members will continue to deploy and we want to make the readiness aspect as streamlined as possible.”

The currently deployed members of the 913th Airlift Group will provide C-130J combat airlift capabilities across the deployed theater.

During 2018, the 913th AG successfully participated in four major exercises and deployed 39 individual Airmen to support combatant commanders across the globe.