Air Force

June 7, 2013

Families to join Airmen in Southwest Asia

Master Sgt. Robby G. Kindernay, 42nd Security Forces Squadron, reunites with his children at Montgomery Regional Airport in March 2011. Kindernay, who was deployed for six months to Afghanistan, was greeted by his wife, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Kindernay, and their two children, Ashlyn and Dalton. Programs at the Airman and Family Readiness Center help families of deployed military members, who face adjustments throughout the deployment cycle.

SOUTHWEST ASIA — Fifteen Airmen assigned to U.S. Air Forces Central Command, the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing are taking advantage of a two-year accompanied tour opportunity — and numbers continue to grow. In the next few years a total of 60 families will be in Southwest Asia.

The Command Sponsorship Program is an accompanied-tour initiative started in 2011 to increase mission effectiveness through extended permanent party presence, greater mission continuity and fewer burdens on families. Permanent party tours are considered “accompanied” only when the overseas installation commander or designated representative approves an individual’s request for their family to reside with them at a particular location.

Families serving an AFCENT-accompanied tour reside off base in the local community, attend local schools and obtain most goods and services from the local economy, enjoying an opportunity to experience what the dynamic Middle Eastern society has to offer. Families shop at local “souqs” or markets, where they can barter for silks, carpets, spices, antiques and gold. They can also shop at one of the many malls for access to items that would be normally found throughout the United States. Some malls even offer indoor ice skating or amusement park rides.

The presence of both permanent party and rotational members at this location make for a very unique experience. While there are various museums, theaters and nearby beaches that provide unique cultural experiences, the main aspect of CSP is keeping families together.

“One of the traditional advantages to serving a command sponsored tour is the ability to keep dependents united with their military sponsors,” said Lt. Col. David Stanfield, previous 379th Air Expeditionary Wing CSP manager. “Our program represents a rare opportunity for Air Force dependents to live in a part of the world normally only experienced by Air Force members on a deployment.”

Captain Jill Heliker, Theater Engineering branch chief, agreed. She and her husband, Jon, were one of the first four Air Force families to be command sponsored in Southwest Asia, and are considered program pioneers.

“When the opportunity was presented for a one-year unaccompanied tour or a two-year accompanied tour, the decision was easy for us,” she said. “We knew there would be hurdles being one of the first families to arrive, but it would be a unique experience that traditional deployers do not get to share with their families. The culture is something you can’t articulate over Skype; you have to experience it and living on the local economy has given us memories and stories we’ll never forget.”

The wing made several changes to the program since its launch in 2011 to improve the level of support offered to families. For example, this location is home to the only Airman and Family Readiness Center in the AFCENT area of responsibility.

“Our Airman and Family Readiness Center provides exceptional resources to assist families from the moment they are assigned to the installation, throughout their tour and when they begin to prepare for a move to their next assignment,” said Lt. Col. Eries Mentzer, 379th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron commander. “The center offers relocation assistance, loan locker items to sustain families while household good are shipping, a Key Spouse Program, employment assistance, volunteer opportunities and school liaison services for military children.”

As more families arrive, there is one goal they all have in common — building a strong partnership with the host nation, and ensuring regional security and stability now and in the future.

“Leslie and I didn’t hesitate at the possibility of applying for an accompanied tour here,” said Brig. Gen. Roger H. Watkins, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “We feel privileged and honored to be here together as we prepare the base to move from an expeditionary to an enduring mission.”

His wife agreed that being together and strengthening relationships are the most important aspects of this program.

“Being separated from my husband and seeing other families separated from their loved ones due to deployments have been the norm, so I jumped at the chance when Roger asked if I would be willing to join him,” said Leslie Watkins. “I believe in this program because it is all about building bridges and relationships both internal and external. It strengthens our individual family, our military family, and, ideally, the extended community and cultural relationships. This has been an incredible and wonderful opportunity to share this deployment experience together.”

Accompanied Airmen receive short tour credit upon completion of their assignment here. To apply for a command sponsored tour or to get more information, visit the 379th AEW page on the Air Force Portal and look for the folder a Master Sgt. Robby G. Kindernay, 42nd Security Forces Squadron, reunites with his children at Montgomery Regional Airport in March 2011. Kindernay, who was deployed for six months to Afghanistan, was greeted by his wife, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Kindernay, and their two children, Ashlyn and Dalton. Programs at the Airman and Family Readiness Center help families of deployed military members, who face adjustments throughout the deployment cycle.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Charles Larkin Sr.

First sergeant provides health, welfare for warriors

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Charles Larkin Sr. Master Sgt. Phelipe Salinas speaks to his athletes during the 2014 Warrior Games at the Garry Berry Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo., Oct. 2. Salinas is the first sergean...
 
 

Safeguarding, re-evaluating your digital footprint

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Social media is a great resource for Airmen and their families to share information and stay connected to relatives at home and abroad. Although many depend on these wonderful tools, recent events have encouraged us to re-evaluate our digital footprint to ensure our personal and professional information is protected from online...
 
 

October is Energy Action Month: ‘I am Air Force Energy’

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Summer has come to a close, and we’re all looking forward to more tolerable temperatures in the coming weeks. Even better news — this means your power bill is likely to go down. But if you think you pay a lot for energy, imagine paying Nellis’ bill of approximately $1 million...
 

 

Taming ‘tyranny of urgent’

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Many Airmen lead incredibly busy lives, full of unfinished tasks that we often wish we had more hours in the day to fit it all in, and in our professional lives, budgets remain tight, the Air Force is shrinking, and we are challenged to do more with less. Yet...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis

Armory: A home for weapons

U.S. Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis Senior Airman Jaime Romo, 99th Security Forces Squadron armorer, puts a M-240 rifle away after clearing the weapon at the 99th SFS armory at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo

Nellis Open House brings history to life

U.S. Air Force photo The AT-6 Texan, which was originally flown in 1935 and flown here in the 1940s, will be one of many aircraft at the Nellis Air Force Base Open House on Nov. 8 and 9. It is a single-engine advanced trainer a...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin