Exercise support includes handling personnel issues

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sergeant Jake Chappelle
  • 446th AW Public Affairs
Anyone who has deployed before can tell you that in the hustle and bustle of contingency operations, personnel issues can become a bit convoluted. So, even with the participants of Pacific Lifeline corralled on an island, it would be expected that a few Airmen might still get lost - at least in the "system." 

But not if the Reservists on the Personnel Support for Contingency Operations team have anything to do with it. 

The PERSCO team provides the installation commander with personnel information for all Airmen arriving, departing and in place. If any information on a deployed member is needed, such as shot records, awards and decorations or service history, PERSCO provides it. 

Pacific Lifeline is a total force exercise designed to test the military's ability to rapidly arrive and leave a trained, equipped team anywhere in the Pacific in response to a humanitarian assistance or disaster scenario. About 145 Reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing will participate in the 13th Air Force-led exercise Jan. 26-Feb 9. 

Total force accountability of Pacific Lifeline is the PERSCO team's primary mission. 

"PERSCO is the tip of the spear in terms of what the personnel community provides to the deployed commander. We generally deploy with a minimum notice to operate as thinly manned," said Senior Master Sgt. Jeff Ellison, 446th Mission Support Squadron PERSCO team chief. 

The team provides around-the-clock crucial force accountability and deployed services. "PERSCO acts as a mini Military Personnel Flight," said Master Sgt. Lyle Harvey. 

Sergeant Harvey is the 446th MSS chief of career enhancement and a PERSCO team member. "They do ID cards, re-enlistments, awards and decorations - you name it." 

In preparing for the exercise, the squadron has been running pre-deployment checklists, reviewing operations plans, and making contact with exercise planners in the area of responsibility. This is done to better understand the tasking and what will be required of the team so they can deploy with the necessary equipment. 

"We'll be responsible for all of the accountability on Kauai and we'll relay our information to the main PERSCO team at Hickam AFB, Hawaii," said Sergeant Harvey. "As soon as Airmen get off the plane, we get a copy of their AF Form 245 locator card." 

In addition, the team will support the commander's executive team, exercise control groups and exercise control teams during the exercise and forward all applicable status reports to the air expeditionary wing responsible for the exercise. 

"The commanders cannot fight the war without knowing what resources are available to sustain our mission," said Tech. Sgt. Mark Marinov, 446th MSS chief of relocations. Sergeant Marinov is also a PERSCO team member. 

How do they know when they've finished the mission? "We're first in, last out. When the last person leaves the location, we go home," said Sergeant Harvey.