***image1***ALI AL SALEM AB, Kuwait — They have eyes on every Airman from the moment they leave their home station until they reach this base and then keep watching until they return home.
While the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Personnel Support for Contingency Operation team seems to fade into the shadows after arrival, and then reappear for departure, they are a vital part of the everyday operations here.
According to Capt. Karen Ashton, chief of PERSCO deployed from Ramstein Air Base, her team has four missions while deployed: personnel accountability, casualty reporting, home station military personnel flight liaison, and inprocessing and outprocessing.
“We account for all people attached to our unit and surrounding areas. We also report on other military units assigned here, as well as the Japanese stationed here. We need to ensure the wing commander and higher headquarters know who and how many people are here,” she said. “By maintaining 100 percent accountability, the commander knows what resources are available here and around the area to carry out the mission.”
The major activity most base personnel see the PERSCO team perform is processing of people arriving and departing the country.
“We work with (traffic management office) and the logistics planners to maintain awareness of those numbers of people arriving and departing on each rotator,” she said.
“The end of Air Expeditionary Force rotations are the busiest times for us. On average, we handle four rotators a month, but in the month of September, as AEF 9/10 rotates out, and AEF 1/2 rotates in, we have 15 scheduled rotators coming in,” said Captain Ashton. “Plus, the number of people on each aircraft varies as well. We can have as few as 14, or as many as 175 people come through on one rotator, and we perform the same process for each one.”
“After we have completed the inprocessing, we then ensure the home unit and MAJCOM (Major Command) know the people have successfully arrived in country,” said Tech. Sgt. Delfina Chavarria, NCOIC of PERSCO, who is also deployed from Ramstein Air Base.
Aside from meeting those individuals who inprocess through the hub, the team must also process all those people who arrive in country via organic airlift, such as a C-130 in.
When they aren’t processing passengers entering or departing the AOR, the PERSCO flight maintains a high operations tempo dealing with normal MPF issues.
“Our day-to-day operations can be pretty busy. We handle all emergency leaves, replacement actions, extension requests, early departures and conduct the Right Start briefings,” said Sergeant Chavarria. “As the link or liaison between the Rock and MPFs, we assist people with paperwork or information on assignments, promotions and re-enlistments.”
The behind-the-scenes efforts of the members of PERSCO to account for the people here, and assist Airmen with reenlistments and promotions, is just another example of the 24-hour-a-day efforts that the men and women here perform to keep ‘Boots on the Ground.’