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Connectic Air National Guard Flying Yankees begin mobilization preparations

Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. Kristine Graham, 103rd Force Support Squadron commander

Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. Kristine Graham, 103rd Force Support Squadron commander

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- As the 103rd Airlift Wing prepares to enter a new phase in the AEF deployment cycle, 48 Flying Yankees mobilized for a deployment to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany on the morning of Saturday, July 9, 2016.

Airmen from the force support and logistics readiness squadron and the communications flight volunteered to spend two weeks across the pond with the goal of familiarizing themselves with the roles they will play in the deployments scheduled for the unit in 2017.

The 103rd Airlift Wing's Inspector General's office sent a representative, Maj. Elliotte Draegor, to observe the process.

This mobility exercise offered the wing its first opportunity to test new Personnel Deployment Function (PDF) procedures. The old PDF line that was familiar to so many members of the unit, with its lengthy lines and numerous briefings, has been replaced with a streamlined new system that emphasizes the importance of advance preparation. By the time deployers began arriving on Saturday morning, most of the work had been already done.

Thanks to the hard work of Capt. Aileen Bailey, installation deployment officer, and the unit deployment managers, all of the deployers' paperwork was completed online by the end of June and their briefings were provided during the June drill.

Deployers began arriving at the base at 1:30 in the morning but, despite the darkness, many were not wearing any reflective gear. According to AFI 91-203, paragraph 14.5.10.2, "Personnel exposed to a traffic environment or flight line operations during hours of darkness, periods of reduced visibility, or as part of construction or maintenance activities, shall be provided and use reflective vests/accessories or shall use organizational clothing with sewn-on reflective tape." Kudos to the Airmen of the logistics readiness squadron who were the only group consistently using their reflective gear--from those deploying to Germany, to those working in the cargo deployment function to the squadron's commander, Maj. Olander himself. Be safe, everyone--wear your reflective belts!

The deployers returned safely home last week, but many more deployments lie ahead for the 103rd Airlift Wing. If you will be deploying in the next year, get ahead of the game and update your information in AEF Online now. The mobilization process will be refined and improved through the use of Continuous Process Improvement (CPI), to give everyone the best possible experience as we execute our mission in the days to come.

The IDO, UDMs, commanders and deploying members demonstrated their capacity to execute the mission, safely processing and airlifting Flying Yankees, which enabled training while honing unit readiness skills in preparation for real-world contingencies.  Certainly their professionalism and dedication during this IG evaluation was displayed in a noteworthy manner, exemplifying readiness and the wing's commitment to duty!