AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --
“AUAB is home of the largest PERSCO team in the AOR,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Cook, 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron reception control center non-commissioned officer in charge.
The 379th EFSS’s Personnel Contingency Operations (PERSCO) team at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, ensures every member traveling through the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility is accounted for.
“Whether members are deployed here, forward deploying to another location, going on temporary duty travel, going on emergency leave, or are transient aircrew or coalition partners, we process any and all members coming through the AOR,” said Cook.
This year alone, PERSCO has processed upwards of 30 thousand personnel.
The joint team is made up of U.S. Air Force personnel, U.S. Army personnel, and various other units to ensure each individual is taken care of the moment they set foot off of a plane.
“When we have a rotator and are processing inbound members, we work closely with the Host Nations Coordination Cell,” said Cook. “Then with the 379th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operations to make sure members have transportation to their lodging, and if anyone has weapons, we work with the Armory to help secure those weapons.”
The PERSCO team aims to cater to those members who have just made the long flight and want to shower, sleep and eat.
“Once our briefings and paperwork are done, we order food and snacks before processing through HNCC,” said Cook.
PERSCO centers only exist in deployment locations and are run by personnelists. When they are not processing members in and out of the AOR, they can be found handling reenlistments, extensions, issuing ID cards and remaining proficient in their trainings.
As the PERSCO team operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a way to relieve stress and build camaraderie is necessary.
“Our squadron and wing leadership always makes sure we have fun and that team building activities happen,” said Senior Airman Olivia Shelton, 379th EFSS RCC technician, deployed out of MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. “I believe PERSCO is a great place to work as a first deployment. Yes, it has been challenging but it has been a great experience and I am thankful for such an amazing squadron leadership that truly takes care of their people.”
Despite the new challenges resulting from the novel Coronavirus, quarantine logistics and restriction of movements, PERSCO aims to make sure they greet people with a smile on their face, and make every person’s first impression of AUAB a positive one.
“We are the first impression of the base when members are exiting a long flight,” said Cook. “We want to be positive and give members correct and updated information while ensuring they feel secure and taken care of. This is when I feel the most rewarded about what I do here.”