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.


 
 

 
square

Luke Lightning strikes at Nellis

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., taxis to the runway for a training exercise at Nellis AFB, Nev., April 15. Maintaine...
 
 

CSAF discusses Air Force’s need to reset

WASHINGTON — The Air Force Association hosted its monthly Air Force breakfast with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III in Arlington, Virginia April 2. During his speech, Welsh addressed many topics and issues in today’s Air Force, including hitting the “reset button.” “For the last couple of years what we have...
 
 

Ten seconds later, that picture still exists

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — There is a conversation many teenagers have had with their parents or friends, me included. “Hey, don’t worry! It’ll be fine; all of the pictures I send disappear after 10 seconds. That’s how Snapchat works.” While many teenagers only share their silly, cross-eyed, quadruple-chinned faces with friends, there are a...
 

 

Becoming stronger through failure

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. — Failing the Air Force physical training test was my greatest fear since joining the military. It is embarrassing to admit recently that fear came to fruition, but what I have learned through that failure has become one of my greatest strengths. After failing, I definitely felt like a weak...
 
 

‘Eye’ see you

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Lisa Winkelman, 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron optometry technician, simulates taking a vision test at the Optometry Clinic on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 15. Getting an eye exam is important to ensure eye vision and pressure is good and in the normal range. For...
 
 

Nellis AFB goes green for Earth Day

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The first Earth Day occurred April 22, 1970, and was introduced by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. More than 20 million people and thousands of local schools and communities participated in the first Earth Day in the U.S. Across the Air Force today, installations are taking aggressive strides...
 




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