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Smooth deployment transition

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing

The first steps off an aircraft halfway around the world often brings a sigh of relief. Soon after, nervousness and excitement for the new adventure kicks in. At first, the fast tempo seems like chaotic synchronization and later that tempo becomes part of daily routine.

Airmen can potentially go through similar situations when first arriving to a deployed units. When their tour is over, going back home can present its own unique challenges. Even a small change to the home-life they are used to can bring about hardships when redeploying.

One of the many resources the Air Force offers deployed members for a smooth changeover is the U.S. Air Force Deployment Transition Center in Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

“When a person deploys, time can seem frozen when returning home or to their work center with them expecting everything to be the same as it was,” said Maj. Michelle Rodriguez, USAF DTC program director. “In reality things have very likely changed. That is why it’s important for Airmen to be aware of this resource.”

The center is dedicated to providing critical reintegration skills and decompression opportunities for members redeploying home to new changes.

“Just like we have regularly scheduled maintenance for airplanes and weapons, we also need to have regularly scheduled maintenance of our human weapon system and our most valued asset, our Airmen,” said Rodriguez.

During the four-day stay, Airmen attend two open discussion sessions, focused on coping skills and stress management, and a trip to a small German town. The rest of the time they decide what they want to do.
Amenities like golfing, axe throwing, bowling and rock climbing are available for them to decompress and to focus on their spiritual, mental, social or physical pillar goals provided free-of-charge by the 86th Force Support Squadron there.

“The only mission a redployer has at the DTC, is to take care of themselves,” said Rodriguez. “Sometimes this is all they need to do just that.”

Members can attend the DTC one of two ways, either be indicated upon career field mission or deployed location, or be deployed-commander nominated.

Since the program’s inception, more than 18,300 Airmen returning from deployment have been seen. The team strives to keep continuing their mission by taking care of their wingmen and the best resource the Air Force has.

For more information on the DTC, visit their website here.