Deployment direction

(U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Life doesn’t stop when the deployment order comes down.

Whether Airmen are single or married with a family, knowing who to talk to is the first step to a successful deployment.

From notification through homecoming, the Readiness Non-commissioned Officer assists Airmen and their families through all phases of deployments.

I brief Airmen and families before they deploy,” said Master Sgt. Joe Ugarte, JBSA-Randolph Readiness NCO. “I am also one of the first individuals to see them when they return.”

The Readiness NCO serves an important role for military members and their families, to include briefing programs intended to make life easier for the deploying member as well as the family at home.

As members deploy, I become the focal point for any family-related issues,” said Ugarte. “I’ve assisted Airmen and their families with Air Force aid assistance, personal and work related life issues, employment, and even transitions to civilian life.”

Ugarte said there are many programs to help families such as “Give Parents a Break,” “Car Care Because We Care,” and “Hearts Apart” events. He said he has a direct effect on Airmen.

The most rewarding part of this special duty is that you make a difference in people’s lives,” said Ugarte. “I concentrate on taking care of families so that Airmen deployed to the area of responsibility can focus their full attention on a combatant commander’s mission objectives.”

Readiness NCO is one of 10 special duties identified as a developmental special duty in 2013. According to a memo from Air Force Personnel Center Headquarters, the process changed from a volunteer process to a nomination process, “to ensure the highest quality Airmen are assigned to these positions.” Ugarte said the DSD process was the right change to make.

With the new process, I believe we get the right person into the right position,” said Ugarte. “Some of our young Airmen have great leadership potential but don’t know it until given the opportunity.”

Ugarte said the Readiness NCO must be a people person and ready for challenges.

The toughest part of my job is that no two days are the same,” said Ugarte. “One day you could be helping someone with their finances and the next day you could be confronted with a potential suicide.”

He continued to say there are no limits with the readiness program.

You have to genuinely care about people and understand that there is no certain way to get the job done,” said Ugarte. “You get to use your creativity and experience to ensure Airmen and their families are taken care of.”

For more information on the Readiness NCO position or any other DSD, Airmen should search for DSD on mypers as well as discuss DSD opportunities with their chain of command.