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Almost out the door Base prepares for upcoming deployments

By Stephanie Bemrose The Bombardier

Team Barksdale is preparing more than 200 base members from nine units for their upcoming deployment.
Members are working to ensure their certification and documentation in their professional and personal matters are complete before they leave later this month, according to 2d Lt. Nicholas Lee, the installation deployment officer.
One unit preparing to deploy is the 20th Bomb Squadron.
Lt. Col. Thomas Hesterman, 20th BS commander, said Airmen are completing required training that is part of the spin-up training.
"I know that if the squadron had to go to war tomorrow, we could effectively accomplish the mission," the colonel said. "However, we are wrapping up our training over the next two weeks to ensure we have the right complement of skills to cover the potential missions we could be tasked with."
Colonel Hesterman has deployed several times and uses his experience to help prepare his Airmen, ensuring the right people get to the right location with the right training and equipment to transition smoothly with the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron.
Another Airman using her deployed experience to prepare outgoing members is Staff Sgt. Brook Elizondo, 2d Operational Support Squadron unit mobility manager. Her experience taught her how important training is in the deployed location.
"Many members are upset about the number of training requirements and they do not consider that it could potentially save their life," she said. "Pay attention to your training - you will enjoy it if you make the best out of it."
Some of the ways Sergeant Elizondo is preparing Airmen include going over all required items to take and discussing location-specific items while answering any questions the members may have.
One question some members have is about the separation from their family members and friends. Although members are not headed to a hostile fire area, it is still important to address this separation, Lieutenant Lee added.
Colonel Hesterman explained that his unit is ensuring their families are prepared for this separation because this will allow the military members to focus better on the mission while deployed.
"In the simplest terms, we take care of our Airmen and their families so that we are best set up for success to accomplish our deployed mission," the commander said.
In addition to the unit's support system, the Airman and Family Readiness Center offers programs and activities for deployed spouses. Call the AFRC at 456-8400 for information.