HST Program Prepares Sailors for IA Deployments

Story Number: NNS090921-09Release Date: 9/21/2009 2:29:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman David Finley, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN. At Sea (NNS) -- USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Sailors who volunteer to serve as individual augmentees (IAs) have an expert team on-hand to guide them through the process.

Most IAs are concentrated in the 26-nation Central Command region, which includes Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain and the Horn of Africa.

"I think the Truman IA program is so successful because we work really hard on tracking everybody that is in our system," said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW/SW) Todd Rose, assistant IA coordinator. "We are very active in tracking down the personnel as they get their orders and making sure that they have everything that they need."

Being assigned an IA billet can be overwhelming, but if the Sailor is well-informed it will make the process run smoother.

"A lot of people are very confused when they get IA orders," said Information Systems Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Frederica Donald, another of Truman's three assistant IA coordinators. "They hear places like Iraq or Afghanistan and are afraid. So, I try to put a positive spin on it. I tell them about all the benefits of going on an IA such as the extra money that they will make, the advancement opportunities and the extra warfare pins that they could earn."

It is the job of the IA coordinators to ensure that Sailors successfully complete the process.

"After the Sailor is selected to go on an IA, we review their orders and make sure that they start the screening process for things like medical, dental, wills and power of attorney," said Donald. "Our biggest thing is that we like to be very hands-on," said Rose. "As soon as the Sailor gets IA orders, we like to get them in the system and do the initial interviews."

Truman has four IA coordinators who help Sailors selected for IAs make the transition from the ship to their new command. In addition to Rose and Donald, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Denise Davis serves as an assistant IA coordinator, and Truman's command IA coordinator is Chief Storekeeper (SW/AW) Henry Milton.

"It is very important to have an IA program because it gives the Sailor a central point of contact if they have any questions or concerns," said Donald. "IA coordinators are there to reassure you that you are not missing anything and are on the right track." According to Rose, constant communication between the IA coordinators and the Sailor relieves some of the stress involved in the process.

"We try to stay in touch with the Sailors as much as possible," said Rose. "We give out all of our contact information to the Sailors and their families, so they know if they have any questions that they can come directly to us. With that kind of personal touch to it, they keep in contact with us more."

Those who want to serve as an IA may submit a chit and forward their name to their department leading chief petty officer, which will guarantee consideration for a spot, although they will not necessarily get one.

"For those Sailors who want to go IA, the biggest thing for them to do is to make sure that they have the required security clearance," said Rose. "Ninety-five percent of the billets require a secret security clearance."

For more information regarding IAs and all the details involved in the process, visit www.ia.navy.mil.

This site contains instructions, an IA handbook, forms, current IA personnel, frequently asked questions and more.

For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.

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