War on Terrorism

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Face of Defense: Father Accompanies Son to Afghanistan

By Army Spc. Monica Smith
Combined Joint Task Force 101

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Oct. 28, 2010 – Stories abound of soldiers who meet up with family members while serving overseas, but few feature family members who serve in the same company.

For Army Sgt. Jason Hudgins of the Delaware National Guard, serving in Afghanistan meant deploying and serving alongside his father, Army Spc. Dale Hudgins.

Both soldiers are assigned to Company A, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Brigade, attached to Task Force Knighthawk, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Falcon.

“I see him almost every day,” said Jason, a crew chief. “It’s nice to have him here, because when I have questions or problems, he gives me good advice.”

Dale, an airframe mechanic, originally was part of the Delaware National Guard’s medical evacuation company, but when Jason’s was called upon to deploy, Dale was asked if he would go to provide maintenance support.

“Last August, I was asked if I’d go, and I told them I would,” said Dale, originally from Wilmington, Del. “It’s nice to be here with him because, during his deployment to Iraq, if I heard something on the news about a helicopter going down, I would worry since I knew he flew on helicopters. But now, if something happens, I immediately know about it, and that puts me at ease.”

For Jason, being able to see his father often has helped him have an easier deployment than his first one to Iraq.

“When I was in Iraq, it was incredibly overwhelming,” he said. “I was 20 years old then, and it was the first time I was away from my parents for an entire year. So, having my father here is comforting.”

During the deployment, Jason and Dale work only a minute from one another, making it easy for them to find time to spend together or meet up for a meal.

“He’ll come see me while I’m working on sheet metal, or I’ll go and talk with him while he’s working on the aircraft,” Dale said. “We eat together often. In fact, on Father’s Day, Jason took me to eat at the dining facility. It’s been nice to have him here with me.” include additional screening criteria such as:

• Performance evaluation average for the last five evaluations
• Physical fitness assessment failures within a four-year period
• RIDE score
• Enlisted community manager's critical Navy enlisted classification codes list by rating and pay grade.

Improvements to the application process include pre-populated application data, which helps reduce the counselor's workload.

"This feature is designed to reduce the number of Sailors who are falling through the cracks at many commands, and it creates accountability at the command level for each of their Sailors," said Reid. "Navy counselors also have batch submission capability, another time management tool."

The enhanced reporting features include monthly PTS report visibility for fleet commands, improved inventory control and forecasting ability and an automated notification of application results.

Commands must ensure PTS applications are submitted for all E3-E6 Sailors with less than 14 years of service as early as 15 months, but no later than 12 months, prior to their end of active obligated service (EAOS) as extended. In addition, a PTS application may be submitted when Sailors are negotiating orders to new commands, for selective reenlistment bonus (SRB) purposes or any other reason requiring additional obligated service. PTS applications are not necessary if additional obligated service is not required, or if the Sailor intends to execute an authorized short-term extension. For Sailors who do not intend to reenlist, commands are required to submit a PTS application so they can be issued a separation quota.

Commands should re-verify the Sailor's decision to separate prior to submitting his or her application. Once an application is finalized, the member will not be allowed to resubmit for active duty, in-rate or conversion options, even if the Sailor changes his mind prior to the six-month end-of-service period.

Before submitting an application in Fleet RIDE, "Commands are required to validate all applications as correct and state the commanding officer recommendation supports the submission," said Reid. "This is just one more level of accountability."

A user guide is available on the PTS website at www.npc.navy.mil/CareerInfo/PerformtoServe. The former stand-alone PTS website will no longer be accepting applications. PTS applications are now accepted only through the Fleet RIDE program. Detailed submission procedures are provided via the Navy Personnel Command website.

For more information on the PTS/Fleet RIDE merger, read NAVADMIN 352/10 or call Navy Personnel Command's customer service center at 1-866-U-ASK-NPC.

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