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No problemo for PEBLO

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

The Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officers, or PEBLOs, are individuals who can provide much needed assistance to service members by helping navigate medical processes where a person’s ability to serve comes to an evaluation. This can include ensuring any care necessary to improve a medical condition is received by the individuals in need before facing the evaluation, known as a Medical Evaluation Board.

For members going up for an MEB, PEBLOs aim to alleviate confusion, stress, and difficulty as members prepare to transition out of their active-duty career if that deliberation is made. Contrary to common belief, members are not automatically recommended for an MEB after an initial injury or illness. According to Crystal Novak, 325th Medical Group PEBLO, typically, members who receive care and are never sent up for an MEB.

“PEBLO gets involved in the medical care process typically when maximum medical benefit has been met,” said Novak. “If they have a chronic issue that’s not getting better, and the military has exhausted the care options available, that is when we get directed to move forward with an [Initial Review in Lieu of].”

An IRILO is the process in which PEBLOs gather information and assess whether the member is fit for duty. This process does not necessarily guarantee a member gets medically discharged or retired during the MEB evaluation.

“Going through the IRILO doesn’t mean a full MEB,” Novak added. “They could return to duty with a C-Code, which that means they just require a waiver [to PCS or deploy to] certain locations or [Major Commands]. It all depends on what the injury or illness is. [We want to] make sure you’re in a place that you can be taken care of.”

In addition to navigating IRILOs and MEBs, PEBLOs also support the overall mission they happen to be a part of.

“PEBLO is an advocate for the service member but also helps the [Air Force] with ensuring their Airmen are deployment ready,” said Novak.

Facing an MEB can seem like a daunting process, however, Airmen at Tyndall are fortunate that the 325th MDG has one of the top five Air Force PEBLO offices, according to Novak.

Tyndall’s PEBLOs are efficient and accurate throughout the process because they truly care about the members they’re assigned to.  

“At the end of the day, it’s rewarding being able to help a service member,” said Shea Tompkins, 325th MDG PEBLO. “At the end of the process, it’s great knowing when they’ve left our office and they’re not leaving empty-handed, and we’ve helped make this transition as smooth and helpful as possible.”