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NEWS | July 28, 2008

Personnel support for contingency operations keeps track of Airmen

By Tech. Sgt. Nina Murphy 437th Force Support Squadron

Reporting accurate and timely total force accountability consisting of Air Force active duty Airmen, Air Reserve Component, Department of the Air Force civilians and Air Force contractors deployed is the No. 1 goal of the personnel support for contingency operations team.

This information is reported daily to the deployed commander, as well as Air Staff, Air Force Personnel Center and the major commands who, in turn, report to senior military and civilian leadership informing them of all member strengths supporting the operation.

To achieve this goal, PERSCO will coordinate with the deployed unit control centers and emergency operations center along with other key members to capture information on duty status changes for people within the area of responsibility.

Even with the UCC and EOC, it is everyone's responsibility to look out for themselves and their Wingmen. Immediate action in reporting this information is vital to ensuring the team can account for one another and initiate replacement actions in the event of a casualty.

Duty status changes seen while deployed include arrivals, departures, forward deployments, emergency leaves, quarters and casualties. While the first four are self explanatory, understanding casualty reporting is important.

A casualty is defined as any person lost to the organization by reason of having been declared dead, duty status - whereabouts unknown, missing, ill or injured. When reporting a casualty, it is very important to give all possible information surrounding the individual becoming a casualty.

This includes who, the location, the situation surrounding the casualty, date and time, circumstances or condition, last known time and date a member was seen if a person becomes missing, etc. The more information provided, the better.

The timeliness in making sure this information is up-channeled through UCCs to PERSCO will determine how fast a replacement request is sent out.

Keep in mind that the only person who can declare someone dead is a licensed medic or coroner, or the deployed commander in a situation where there is no medic.

Also, a person is declared DUSTWUN when the responsible commander suspects a member's absence is involuntary and there is not sufficient evidence to make a definitive determination on whether the member is missing or deceased. Once the commander has placed member in DUSTWUN, he will initiate a search and investigation of all situations. A person cannot be declared missing until the commander has consulted with the AFPC.

Finally, PERSCO's capability to support routine member programs is very limited. Issues such as Servicemember's Group Life Insurance changes, virtual record of emergency data changes, limited promotion release actions and emergency leave processing can be handled, but only as time permits.

If there are any questions concerning these matters, contact the PERSCO team at the deployed location.