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AUAB 5/6, AFRC host ‘Redeployment during Global Pandemic’ panel

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael Battles
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

The Al Udeid Grand Slam 5/6 Counsel and the 379th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center held a panel discussion on “Redeployment During Global Pandemic” at the Blatchford-Preston Complex Theater, July 24, 2020, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

The goal of the panel is to give deployers who are returning home a chance to transition back smoothly to their home stations and be maeaware of the changes that have occurred throughout the world due to Novel Coronavirus.

“[The panel] will be more of a focus on returning to home station during a Global Pandemic due to the unique situation we are all facing and service members expressing concerns of feeling unprepared,” said Master Sgt. Jennifer Bricker, 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron Airman & Family Readiness Center readiness non-commissioned officer in charge. “We are all feeling the added stress of COVID-19 whether we are preparing for redeployment or recently arrived at AUAB, so hopefully discussing this topic will help to alleviate some of the concern for all.”

Originally a class on the Stages of Deployment or Redeployment Strategies, the idea of adding a panel into the curriculum was developed by the Grand Slam 5/6 Counsel, as a way for Airmen to learn what it’s like to be home during COVID-19.

When asked why he thought this panel was important, Tech. Sgt. Vincent Walker, 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron programs assistant manager and 5/6 president said, “We want to mentally prepare their minds for the changes and unexpected occurrences that may happen when they return to their homes during this global pandemic.”

During the panel, audience members had a chance to learn from several different viewpoints about returning in a COVID-19 environment including a single, married, married with children and a blended family perspective.

“We are hoping that the attendees will have a better understanding of the emotional process that occurs during deployment and time away from friends & family,” Bricker said. “By educating service members on this topic it can help to alleviate some of the communication barriers and stressors that can develop when preparing to return home.” 

Bricker also encourages all service member to attend one of the A&FRC classes before redeploying to home station.

“Since we are all in the same situation here, away from friends, families and the comforts of home, I think that it is important that leadership supports and encourages their members to attend one of our deployment panels,” she said. “People are looking for ways to connect during this time and this could be the avenue for someone that is new to AUAB to connect with someone that has been in their shoes.”