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Who you gonna call? Deployment managers!

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Cheyenne Lewis
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

It’s no secret Airmen deploy. While the location and frequency of deployments shift with time, Airmen are needed down range to accomplish the missions of expeditionary wings and provide support to combatant commanders worldwide. It’s the responsibility of Unit Deployment Managers to ensure the right Airmen get to the right location with all the gear they need to complete the mission.

UDMs act as liaisons between various Air Force units and the individual tasked to deploy. Having UDMs in place is essential to mission success.

“If we weren’t here, a deployer going out on their own would be like someone going to court without a lawyer,” said Tech. Sgt. Robert Semcho, 325th Logistics Readiness Squadron UDM. “There are [several] forms to complete and members may have no idea what they need or what to do.”

In order to streamline future deployments, UDMs must ensure their entire assigned unit is deployment ready on a daily basis. This includes annual training, medical appointments and physical fitness assessments, just to name a few.

“In larger squadrons, UDMs can be really busy,” said Maj. Broderick Morris, 325th LRS commander. “They’re having to juggle multiple roles. Not only are they responsible for updating all of our readiness reporting requirements for commander review, they’re also responsible for ensuring that members are ready to get out the door when tasked for a deployment.”

Upon receiving a deployment tasking, a UDM quickly starts the lengthy process required for Airmen to deploy successfully. Tech. Sgt. Micah Mincey, 325th Comptroller Squadron UDM, estimates he operates up to six programs at a time in order to consolidate everything a deploying Airman may need.

“We have to skim through every regulation that may have to do with their deployment,” added Semcho. “Requirements are hidden all over the documents. A lot of the job is just doing the admin work to make sure members have everything they need.”

Since the UDM position is a special duty, its likely Airmen don’t fully understand the enormous role they play in the success of deployed operations until they themselves become one. Even members with previous deployment experience may have a hard time understanding how much they do, let alone how difficult the position can be.

“Before becoming a UDM, I had deployed three or four times,” stated Mincey. “I didn’t really know what UDMs did when I volunteered to be one. I thought it was going to be one of the easiest jobs I ever did, but it is one of the most complex jobs. There’s a lot of moving pieces.”

Although the position can be stressful, many UDMs still enjoy the job and the help they provide to their team. One thing UDMs agree on is how important the people aspect of the job is.

“We don’t forget about the person after they leave,” concluded Mincey. “We still reach out and see if there’s anything else they may need. The job isn’t complete until they touch down and come home safely.”