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Bagram PERSCO is all about ‘Getting faces in places’

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Rau
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

With Airmen, civilians and contractors coming and going to Bagram Airfield every day, someone has to keep accountability and ensure manning levels are being maintained.  That is where the small Personnel Support of Contingency Operations team of nine manages the nearly 4,000 personnel who arrive to Bagram.

“We are like a human resources office for all Air Force members, civilians, and contractors at Bagram,” explained Senior Master Sgt. Lafrance Ballard, 455th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron PERSCO team chief. “The accurate accountability of personnel we provide leads directly to making sure we have the right people in place for mission accomplishment.”

With the all intricacies PERSCO deals with in managing the flow of people around a combat zone, the unit could be seen as the central nervous system of the base.  The accounting for, and assigning of, personnel allows for operational planners to tie unit strength reports to upcoming missions. However, with so many moving parts, PERSCO also faces some challenges.

“We do not have complete personnel systems here, and have to work with units stateside to get the job done,” said Ballard. “Also, communication is hard because the Army does this job on a different system.  The languages and processes we use are different.  That is why we work together to create neutral processes everyone can understand.”

Ironically, another challenge the Bagram PERSCO faces is an issue with their own manning.  While a single PERSCO team member is normally responsible for 275 members, here at Bagram, each one is responsible for almost 400. Despite the minimal manning, Airmen like Airman 1st Class Kyla Holmes, 455th EFSS PERSCO sustainment team member, are making the most of their first deployment.

Home stations do not have a PERSCO function, but members still need to take care of their vital career processes and paperwork. This is where Holmes takes on the additional task to give service members some piece of mind.

“I get to help people here with what they need from back home, like reenlistments,” said Holmes. “It’s nice to take that burden off them and relieve some stress from an already stressful deployment.”

In addition to all the moving of, and accounting for, healthy troops around the area of responsibility, PERSCO also coordinates the personnel details for Aeromedical Evacuations of patients who have been injured or are severely ill. On top of that, PERSCO handles all the emergency leave, mid tour leave, and any other personnel movement that can, and does, come up.

“At PERSCO we get to see the big picture of strategic planning and personnel,” said Ballard, “and we love to make sure we get faces in places to get the mission accomplished.”