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Air Force Looks to 'Team' Deploying Airmen in Specialty Jobs

Minot Airmen board a plane during a mass deployment at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., March 9, 2017. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Christian Sullivan)
Minot Airmen board a plane during a mass deployment at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., March 9, 2017. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Christian Sullivan)

Airmen in smaller career fields, niche specialties or scheduled to head overseas for an individual task will no longer be a "one-man team" during their deployment.

The Air Force has introduced a new way to send airmen on assignments as part of a "Deployed Teaming" concept, the service said in a release Tuesday.

The approach, introduced under Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein's Strengthening Joint Leaders and Teams initiative, will dispatch airmen who previously deployed on individual taskings as part of teams of three or more.

Goldfein announced the intent of the initiative in 2016.

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"I'm concerned that over the past 15 years, we have migrated into sending too many single airmen into combat," he said during the 2016 Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

"While we will never be the service that says, if you want an airman, you get an entire squadron -- because that's not what the nation needs, we need to be a little more flexible than that -- I think the pendulum has swung a little too much to individual airmen," Goldfein said.

Airmen traveling in teams of fewer than three personnel will be paired with airmen from the same installation who are traveling to the same deployed location, within the same month and with similar tour lengths, Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Trisha Guillebeau told Military.com in an email.

"If airmen cannot be teamed according to these requirements, the Installation Deployment Readiness Cell (IDRC) will initiate the [Major Command] waiver process," she said.

The primary goal of "Deployed Teaming," effective as of Nov. 30, is to give individuals additional support during deployments.

Guillebeau said that while many units deploy together, some airmen, such as those in smaller career fields, deploy in individual taskings. The airmen will now be together for pre-deployment training, travel to and from the deployment, and during reintegration.

"The Deployed Teaming concept addresses those airmen deploying and assigned to unit type codes (UTCs) of two or less personnel," she said.

"Unit deployments from the same squadron or functional area deploying in teams of three or more will have internal organic leadership established by their chain of command," Guillebeau said.

Deployed Teaming airmen may not be assigned to the same work center, but team leadership will ensure there is crosstalk and mutual support, the release said.

"Deployed Teaming places a higher value on mutual support and improves our warfighting capability," Maj. Gen. Brian Killough, director of Air Force strategic plans, said in the release. "It allows us to be more effective, while increasing resiliency."

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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