Deployment operations division keeps Airmen prepared for deployment

Deployment Operations Division personnel transfer duffel bags during the Phase I exercise July 19. The main goal of the division is to support both 95th Air Base Wing and 412th Test Wing personnel who may be tasked for a deployment in support of the Global War on Terror. (Photo by Jet Fabara)

Deployment Operations Division personnel transfer duffel bags during the Phase I exercise July 19. The main goal of the division is to support both 95th Air Base Wing and 412th Test Wing personnel who may be tasked for a deployment in support of the Global War on Terror. (Photo by Jet Fabara)

Deployment Operations Division personnel transport cargo during the Phase I exercise July 19. They handle various items used for deployments such as mobility bags, insect repellant, weapons and individual body armor. (Photo by Jet Fabara)

Deployment Operations Division personnel transport cargo during the Phase I exercise July 19. They handle various items used for deployments such as mobility bags, insect repellant, weapons and individual body armor. (Photo by Jet Fabara)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Editor's Note: This article is the first in a three-part series highlighting the 95th Mission Support Group's deployment operations division.

The 95th Mission Support Group's supply mobility operations face a never-ending mission to keep the mobility gear for Edwards personnel ready for deployment. 

A group of five to 15 contractors have the responsibility of maintaining and issuing gear to hundreds of people on base. 

Their main goal is to support both 95th Air Base Wing and 412th Test Wing personnel who may be tasked for a deployment in support of the Global War on Terror. 

"We make sure when individuals leave here, they have all the necessary supplies to keep them safe in a hostile environment," said Bill Martin, contract manager for the base supply contract. 

The deployment operations division handles a myriad of items typically used during a deployment. Some of these items include mobility bags, insect repellant, weapons and individual body armor. 

Airmen typically find themselves at the supply warehouse during their initial in-processing and prior to deploying, Mr. Martin said. 

Although, that isn't the case for all Airmen, said Paul Wallace, 95th MSG supply readiness manager. Some units, such as the Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit and the 95th Security Forces Squadron manage most of their own gear but for the rest of the base, the gear is handled by base supply. 

They also play a small but crucial role in the base's operational readiness exercises and inspections, Mr. Martin said. 

During the exercises and inspections, the supply group issues the mobility bags to those going through the deployment line. 

Because the deployment operation grows vastly in size, and they have to process so many Airmen in a short period of time, the supply section has to "man up," Mr. Martin said. Instead of a five or six man crew, they may have up to 15 people assisting in the deployment process. 

"During an exercise, we are preparing for a worst case scenario," Mr. Martin said. "Our base leadership does a very good job of keeping us informed of all the base's deployments in 'real world' so we have ample time to prepare for them." 

There are many other elements involved when it comes to deploying, Mr. Wallace said.
"We are a small piece of the big picture, but I feel we are one of the most important pieces," he said. 

Mr. Martin said the process has consistently been improving. What used to be a seven to eight hour process of getting Airmen through the deployment line is now reduced to an hour and a half. 

During day-to-day operations, the deployment operations division performs other tasks such as training Airmen on how to be equipment custodians when they are deployed. 

They also coordinate with 95th SFS Combat Arms Training and Maintenance division to make sure the mobility weapons are functioning properly. 

On top of everything else, the mobility section helps inprocess new arrivals to the base, manages the shelf-life of several pieces of equipment stored in a wide variety of configurations, and maintain the weapons and protective gear Airmen use to keep them safe while deployed. 

Mr. Wallace said they also provide mobility inventory control accounting system training unit deployment managers. 

"We communicate with the UDMs on a daily basis to help keep the entire deployment process running smoothly," Mr. Martin said. "I feel it is very important to help ensure rapid global mobility. It starts here."