Individual augmentees (IA) serving in the Middle East operate in a stressful, constantly deployed environment. IAs recieve gear and training before they get to the field and put that training into practice. At the end of thier tour, Sailors are eager to return home to their friends and family, but a small training and decompression period is beneficial before returning home and putting that into practice.
This program is called the Warrior transition program, and today we have a guest on the show to discuss the program in more detail. He is the Commander of Task Force Individual Augmentee, and the Deputy Commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, Rear Adm. Kevin Scott. Take it away Sir.
Thanks LT, It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to share with others, what our Sailors do to support the mission in the Middle East, and especially those who have been augmented to support forces ashore.
We have more than 1,800 IA Sailors who are currently serving downrange in Afghanistan and throughout the CENTCOM AOR. I want to share with you an update regarding our focus of re-integrating these warriors back to the fleet.
As a vital precursor to their return to Navy duties, each IA Sailor spends about five days at the Navy Warrior Transition Program (WTP) as they complete their deployment. WTP was previously located at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, but has since moved operations to Sembach, Germany, near Ramstein AFB, back in December 2012. I recently made the trip to Germany to observe the progress made since their move and to welcome a group of redeploying IA Sailors back to the Navy.
Travel out of theater for these redeployers can be challenging, especially during the winter months. The weariness of travel, with stops in Kandahar or Bagram, Afghanistan, and then Manas, Kyrgyzstan, and finally Germany, was evident as I greeted the Sailors coming off the plane in Ramstein. However, their moods clearly lifted after arriving at WTP and seeing the new facilities.
WTP offers the right kind of decompression our redeploying Sailors need. Having spent $11 million to refurbish old Army barracks and offices, the Navy has ensured the facilities are first-rate. At this point, the dusty tents of Kuwait are but a distant memory. Berthing is normally two per room with two rooms sharing a head. The facilities provide lots of space to relax, and the natural beauty of the surrounding country side is both breathtaking and rejuvenating.
I cordially invite our Navy leadership to make a visit to WTP in Germany. Less than a 30 minute drive from Ramstein AFB in the town of Sembach, a small investment of time there pays large dividends to yourself and, most importantly, shows your appreciation of our returning warrior’s service. Below is a link to our CTF-IA website and the WTP Facebook page where you can find contact information for my staff and the WTP. Please consider scheduling a visit if you a travelling through the area.
-Rear Adm. Kevin Scott