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USAG Baumholder readies Bayonet Brigade for deployment

Feb 2, 2011

By Ignacio "Iggy" Rubalcava

BAUMHOLDER, Germany - The U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder stood up its pre-deployment processing center Jan. 25 to help Soldiers of the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepare for deployment to Afghanistan by the end of February.

As the key support agency for the 170th IBCT, the USAG Baumholder is preparing Soldiers for the long deployment by consolidating numerous service agencies such as medical, dental, legal and other supporting agencies under one roof. This one-stop-shopping facility allows Soldiers of the 170th IBCT to take care of their official and personal needs before departing Baumholder.

The USAG Baumholder has utilized this pre-deployment processing center for numerous brigade deployments and the operation is refined with each deployment. Everything a Soldier needs to take care of before deployment, such as ID card renovation, powers of attorney, family issues, immunization updates, medical counseling and more is centralized to streamline the pre-deployment process.

The brigade is deploying to Afghanistan to accomplish missions in support of the International Security Assistance Force and the people of Afghanistan. 3rd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment is already on the ground in Afghanistan and is conducting missions in support of the training of Afghan National Security Forces. They deployed in December. The remainder of the brigade deploys in late February for approximately 12 months.

"Our main goal is to take care of all of the administrative needs of the Soldier so that he is prepared and ready to deploy," said Capt. Andrew Chovancek, from USAG Baumholder's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

The Soldier arrives at the pre-deployment center with a packet that his unit provides him and after receiving additional paperwork and a couple of briefings from service agencies, he is given an orientation to the flow of events in the building and begins his processing.

"Our biggest section is medical. It is the largest and most important portion of the process that ensures the Soldier has received any and all required medical treatment," said Chovancek.

"The other half is the administrative portions which include all the garrison and installation support agencies such as housing, to make sure we are tracking within the garrison any washers or dryers, or loaner equipment that needs to be picked up. The community mail room ensures that all his mail is forwarded or held, depending on each Soldier's circumstance.

We also update all of their SGLI 93's in case something happens to the Soldier so that the entitlements go to where he wants them to," said Chovancek.

Army Community Service provides a number of their personnel throughout the day who offer consultations to further assist the Soldier in making decisions about numerous personal and official issues.

"finally, the unit provides their family readiness leader who ensures the Soldier's POV storage and household good storage needs are in order. They also establish and confirm contacts here in the rear while they are deployed.

"Once they have completed their processing we make sure they have done everything they need to, including attending additional briefings that we provide at the Wagon Wheel Theater consisting of a medical threat brief, pre-mobilization legal briefing, and a finance entitlement travel briefing which includes information such as what happens when they go on leave and what benefits a Soldier is entitled to while he is deployed. Once they are done they get signed out and head back to their unit," said Chovancek.

The entire process only takes up a half day of the Soldier's time, not to include the briefings at the Wagon Wheel Theater, which are scheduled at a different time.

By offering Soldiers this consolidated pre-deployment processing opportunity as well as an annual CARE fair and two deployment fairs, the USAG Baumholder and numerous support agencies are ensuring that Soldiers and families are fully prepared for the upcoming deployment.

The USAG Baumholder will continue to support the needs of families and rear detachment organizations as the Soldiers of the 170th IBCT, the Bayonet Brigade, accomplish their mission in Afghanistan.

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