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Deployment lines accelerate out-processing for Airmen

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Senior Airman Kalaya Irby, a 30th Force Support Squadron customer service representative, assists Airmen to ensure the accuracy of their documents in preparation for future deployments at Vandenberg’s Installation Deployment Readiness Center here July 22. Airmen of the 30th Security Forces Squadron, process through the pre-deployment line before being cleared by the base to deploy to another location. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Antoinette Lyons)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Senior Airman Kalaya Irby, a 30th Force Support Squadron customer service representative, assists Airmen to ensure the accuracy of their documents in preparation for future deployments at Vandenberg’s Installation Deployment Readiness Center here July 22. Airmen of the 30th Security Forces Squadron, process through the pre-deployment line before being cleared by the base to deploy to another location. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Antoinette Lyons)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Military members from different base agencies begin to occupy seats alongside tables extending nearly half the length of a football field inside a vacant hangar. Sounds heard from outside -- boots hitting the pavement, bags dropping and a bus' shuttering door -- echo throughout the hangar at Vandenberg's Installation Deployment Readiness Center. 

Entering one-by-one into Vandenberg's Installation Deployment Readiness Center, the Airmen are directed to congregate on the hangar's bleachers where they will receive an initial briefing. Once the last Airman in line, the deploying group's commander, rallies with the rest of the Airmen, the pre-deployment processing line briefing begins.

This was the scene as members of the 30th Security Forces Squadron began to out-process for upcoming deployments here July 22. The squadron members gathered together one last time to ensure they had everything they needed before going down range.

Tech. Sgt. Becky Ramey, the NCO in charge of Vandenberg's personnel deployment function line, was the Airmen's guide in briefing them on the procedures of the processing line.

"The pre-deployment processing line is basically a one-stop shop for Airmen to ensure they have everything the need and are cleared to deploy," Sergeant Ramey said. "This process is very important because we have to make sure the member's information is accurate before they go. It is our responsibility, as the home station, to do any updates to their records."

The line consists of several functions, to include checking the member's eligibility, identification, records of emergency data, religious preferences, legal documents, financial issues, immunizations and public health records. The deploying Airmen form a line and begin their way down the length of the table stopping at each section.

"Deployment lines are needed for a mass group of people deploying, because it brings everyone together for one final check before they deploy," Sergeant Ramey said. "Our job is to keep the line continuously moving, because there are specific time frames that we have to meet during the processing line. The line has to start and end at a certain time so the Airmen receive all of the briefings that come afterward and make it to the bus or plane on the scheduled time."

Once the Airmen make their way through the processing line, they go into a secured room to receive a series of briefings on topics concerning their deployment. The purpose of the briefings is to prepare the Airmen mentally for the mission that lies ahead.

"These briefings help put the Airmen's minds at ease," Sergeant Ramey said. "The briefings provide the Airmen with the frame of mind that ensures them everything has been taken care of at home, which allows them to focus on their mission overseas."

The use of Vandenberg's pre-deployment processing line takes the last-minute strain off the shoulders of the Airmen preparing to deploy.

"Deployment processing lines are very convenient," said Staff Sgt. Sean Yargus, a 30th Security Forces Squadron patrolman. "It is a much more efficient way for large groups of Airmen to have all of their documents and paperwork signed off before a deployment; otherwise it would take more time for us to travel all over base to the different organizations to get everything done."

Even though the processing lines ease the preparation of the Airmen deploying, Vandenberg is always looking to make the process more efficient.

"We are constantly improving the deployment line and making the process more user friendly," Sergeant Ramey said. "The overall goal of the processing line is to get all of the Airmen processed through in a timely manner and get them out of the door and wheels up on time."