JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, Washington, D.C. –
Service members deploy for the first time regularly across the Department of Defense. A joint base deploying units for the very first time, however, is a rare occurrence in recent history.
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling began the first-ever DoD lead service transfer in October 2020. This two-year operation shifted base ownership from the U.S. Navy to the U.S. Air Force, while maintaining the functioning presence of all military services and agencies on base.
As proof of increased readiness, JBAB completed its first large-scale Personnel Deployment Function on March 30, 2023.
“The purpose of a PDF is to outprocess a mass group of service members in an efficient way by bringing necessary agencies to one central location, rather than having service members visit each agency separately,” said Gino LaGrant, 11th Logistics Readiness Squadron installation deployment officer.
Chapel, Finance, Military and Family Life Counselors and other organizations provided individualized support to each service member.
JBAB has deployed individuals since entering Full Operational Capability in October 2022, but this event proves that the base now has the same level of mission capability as any other military organization.
“Just two years ago when we began the first-ever DoD lead service transfer, we had to develop our installation from scratch and discover the most efficient processes through trial and error - people didn’t have seats to sit in,” said LaGrant. “So this is a significant event in many ways.”
Service members attended to their personnel needs on JBAB and were then bussed to nearby Joint Base Andrews where they were issued chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protective equipment.
The PDF is just as important for local service members as it is for the greater Air Force.
“Not only will this be my first deployment, but we’ve been working towards FOC for a while, so everything on this base has been the first of its kind, said Staff Sgt. Bakari Robinson, 11th Civil Engineer Squadron water fuel system maintenance specialist. “I’m just hoping that any lessons learned during my pre-deployment process here will make things easier for someone in the next group.”
Supporting service members before, during and after a deployment means not only fulfilling their needs, but caring for their loved ones, as well.
“I have a family and I feel like JBAB has done a good job providing relevant resources for us while I prepare to deploy, so I know my wife and kids will be OK when I’m gone, said Robinson. “If I know they’re taken care of, that’ll make it easier for me to go down range and do my job.”
LaGrant expects JBAB to be tasked with more large-scale deployments, so continuing to streamline the process will benefit everyone involved.
“Today’s PDF is just the first for our base,” said LaGrant. “But this shows that we’re ready.”