Three deployments, three valuable experiences

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jason D. Engle
  • 934th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander
Are you trained and ready for a deployment?  As a logistician, I've had three deployments since  September 11, 2001.  I can't say I was fully trained for the deployments, but they were experiences that I will never forget.

For my first deployment, my functional manager said I was deploying to Kabul to be an Afghan military academy instructor.  Once the Army got ahold of me, they sent me to a Forward Operation Base near the Pakistan border.  Here I was a mentor to Afghan soldiers in supply, fuels, vehicle ops/maintenance, ammo supply point, and a security forces platoon.  Well, I was a logistics planner and I did the correspondence courses for supply and let's go! 

My second deployment, I was originally told I was going to Bagram AB and ended up at the US Headquarters in Kabul.  Better yet, I was in J3 (operations) and the aircrew were in J4 (logistics).  Here I was responsible for Force Management across Afghanistan for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.  I learned new skills from working a CENTCOM personnel deployment database, authoring AUTODIN messages, initiating request for forces, reviewing and briefing a two-star Army general on the SEDEF Orders Book, and how to make and consume mass quantities of coffee.  Well, I had three days of left seat/right seat turn-over with my let's go! 

My third deployment was to the Manas Transit Center at Kyrgyzstan.  I was the operations officer for the Logistics Readiness Squadron.  Before this time, my background was in Logistics Plans and Aerial Port; however, I did have a week of annual tour at the 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron just prior to my let's go!   There was plenty of chaos with communicating to redeploying passenger of their aircraft delays, educating leadership on aircraft scheduling delays, mobility exercises, and witnessing the LRS Chief Enlisted Manager's (a superstar leader) involuntary redeployment after only two months into her six-month tour.
Wow, so if you've read this far, you may be thinking you don't want to deploy.  Let me tell you why should deploy. 

1.  Serve the best country in the world!
2.  Build professional relationships
3.  Gain valuable experience
4.  Save money (plus apply for a grant at
5.  Add to your resume
6.  Earn a DD-214 and hiring priority for government jobs
7.  Earn more points for retirement plus a reduced retirement age.  Effective January 28, 2008, the FY 2008 NDAA authorized the Reserve retired pay age to be reduced below age 60 by 3 months for each aggregate of 90 days active duty performed in support of a contingency during the same fiscal year.  Visit your MyPers Dashboard to apply with a copy of your certified orders.

To volunteer for a deployment, contact your Unit Deployment Manager to fill out a Volunteer Request Form.  This form ensures you are medically cleared for a deployment and informs leadership.  Once the form is approved, then you can look for a deployment through:
1.  Volunteer Reserve System (
2.  Personnel Force Innovation (
3.  Supervisor and Functional Area Manager

Each one of the deployments was rememberable.  I developed a motorcycle safety course and taught Afghans how to ride bicycles and eventually motorcycles.  I solved manpower issues across Afghanistan and helped right size the force for an additional thirty thousand surge of soldiers.  In Kyrgyzstan, we moved the passenger terminal to the old gym increasing the passenger capacity 3 fold.  I also obtained airlift and recovered a non-air transportable 13K forklift at a classified location.  When it is your time to deploy, remember it isn't always easy, but as a 934th Airmen you can and will succeed.