Boots on the ground is not new for those stationed at NBVC. Seabees ARE boots on the ground. However, have you heard about another 'boots on the ground' deployment affecting our Sailors and Seabees called IA or Individual Augmentee?
An IA is a Sailor/Seabee (both officer and enlisted) who has been chosen for their expertise to support the DoD's efforts in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Those deployed in this manner are sent to Fort Jackson, SC or other Army locations for training then deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Horn of Africa, and other locations.
These deployments are different - IA's are sent as individuals, not with their command or batallion. They are sent from 6 months to 18 months. And, often, they have a very short notification before they are deployed.
NBVC has IA's. Is your service member one of them? If so, what has your experience been? If not, have you heard about these deployments...and are you prepared? IA's are often selected from non-deploying commands - shore duty.
I am curious - what support is available for families? Are you an IA family member (spouse, parent, girlfriend, boyfriend)? If so, what support, resources, information have you obtained about your service member and this unique deployment?
I want to make you aware of two opportunities to learn about these deployments. For family members of IA's there is a meeting tonight, Tuesday, July 22 with the Commanding Officer, CAPT McKenzie and CMC Schneider of the ECRC (Expeditionary Combat Readiness Command - command responsibile for IA's). This meeting is specifically for families members at the Point Magu Theatre, 1800hrs.
I also want to invite you to listen to Navy Homefront Talk! (internet talk show for Navy spouses) Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 6:00pm (Pacific Time). CMC Schneider, Command Master Chief of the ECRC (command overseeing IA deployments), CMC Morey of the Southwest Region, Mary Kirby of FFSC and others will be on the panel to talk about IA/GSA deployments and the support services, information and resources provided for families. This is a talk show and you will be able to participate in the discussion. To join the conversation tune into www.blogtalkradio.com/nht.
If your loved one is serving (or has served) as an IA, thank you for your unique service. I'm eager to hear your experiences and perspective.