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Military

AEF Center commander explains longer cycle

by Senior Airman Sarah Clark
15th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

10/29/2004 - HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFPN)  -- The effect of the expanded air and space expeditionary force tour lengths on troop morale was addressed here by the general in charge of the deployment schedule.

Brig. Gen. Steven Hoog, AEF Center commander, explained how the recent extension to four-month deployments is working out.

"Airmen have saluted smartly, and they're off doing their business," he said.

This new schedule offers greater stability for commanders and a reduction in transportation requirements because Airmen are swapping out three times instead of four during the year, General Hoog said.

The deployment-length change to the AEF cycle started Sept. 15. Airmen now get four extra months at home.

"We go for 120 days now (every) 20 months," General Hoog said. "In terms of your life back at home, the turmoil has actually decreased because now you have a longer cycle (of down) time."

An AEF assignment does not necessarily mean deployment, but Airmen should be prepared to go anytime during their 120-day window, he said.

"If you're in a deployable [position], you're supposed to be ready to go on 72-hours notice, regardless," said General Hoog. "If you're in a four-month window, you're supposed to be ready to go any day from day one to day 119. What we try to do is give you as much notice as we can, ideally somewhere between 30 and 90 days and tell you where you're going to go, but you're supposed to be ready that whole time."

Air Force officials are changing in the way they handle war, including the integration of reservists and guardsmen and combining the different armed services to create a larger joint environment.

The reservists and guardsmen "do a great job," said General Hoog. "The Guard and Reserve will volunteer to take taskings before (the taskings) flow down to the active-duty."

People in certain Air Force specialties are deploying for 179 days, but because they are not trained for their specific task, these deployments are expanded by two to two-and-a-half months of training before deploying.

Additionally, Airmen are integrating with the Army as never before. Several Air Force specialties "have agreed to fill some Army requirements with Air Force bluesuiters," he said. "It's working out superbly."

For more information about the AEF cycles, visit the Web site https://aefcenter.acc.af.mil. (Courtesy of Pacific Air Forces News Service)





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