The additional duty of a unit deployment manager includes a variety of responsibilities. They can range from ensuring personnel and resources are prepared to deploy to acting as liaison between higher authority and deploying members.
Being responsible for a successful deployment for more than 100 members can be stressful and rewarding at the same time, said Staff Sgt. Magen Baker, 56th Comptroller Squadron budget analyst and 56th Fighter Wing Staff Agencies UDM.
“The key is to be flexible and manage your time wisely,” she said. “It’s challenging at times, but it allows me to be intimately involved with the Air Force mission and why we wear the uniform.”
Sometimes, the more someone has deployed in their Air Force career the better, said Tech Sgt. Scottie McCord, 56th FW Public Affairs photography NCO-in-charge and 56th FWSA UDM.
“I think my deployment experience will help me in being a great UDM,” he said. “I will also be able to provide insight to help deployers be more efficient and prepared at their deployed location.”
Completion of a three-day training course and computer based training is mandatory for all UDMs, but that’s not all they need to accomplish in order to get the job done.
“Much of the job is learned through on-the-job training along with trial and error,” Baker said. “The only way to learn UDM is to do it. There are so many gray areas and no amount of training can teach you everything you need to know.”
Making an effort to make a UDM’s job easier can in turn make the process smoother for the deploying member. Baker recommends following these steps to aid the efficiency of the process and speed its completion:
• Don’t wait until the last minute to complete mandatory training.
• Read and comprehend your reporting instructions and tasking letter.
• Keep all records current and updated.
These tips aren’t just for deployments. Temporary duty assignments also require members to be proactive, especially when it comes to passports Baker said.
“Passports are sent to the U.S. Department of State to be processed and we have no control over how long that process takes,” she said. “It’s important to apply for a passport as soon as you get a tasking letter if it is required. Failing to do so can prevent members from leaving on time.”
Luke Air Force Base hosts more than 4,830 military members meaning everyone from deploying personnel to unit deployment managers must be prepared at all times in order to accomplish the mission of training the world’s greatest F-16 fighter pilots while deploying mission-ready war fighters.