NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy has moved its in-processing center for Sailors and officers with individual augmentee (IA) orders to Afghanistan from Kuwait to the Transit Center at Manas, near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan Feb. 10.
With more than 100 IA Sailors remaining in Kuwait, Commander, Task Force Individual Augmentee (CTF-IA) is realigning its Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration (RSO&I) team at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) Forward Headquarters (NFHQ) Kuwait to better serve the 2,100 IAs serving in all 34 provinces in Afghanistan.
"As our ashore footprint has become more focused on Afghanistan, it makes more sense to get closer to the fight," says Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette, deputy commander, CUSNC and Commander, CTF-IA. "Ultimately, it's about Sailors spending less time in transit."
In February, the first IA Sailors deploying to Afghanistan made the Transit Center at Manas their first U.S. Central Command stop. The Navy RSO&I team integrated its mission with the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) existing joint RSO&I process and reduces transit time to Afghanistan for IA Sailors.
"The 376th AEW has been extremely helpful and accommodating from the very start of planning," said Cmdr. Herb Carmen, director of RSO&I and the first officer in charge of NFHQ Manas.
"We are excited for the opportunity to support the mission at the Transit Center at Manas. Integrating with the joint RSO&I process allows us to continue to provide the very best support to IA Sailors as they begin their deployment," said Carmen.
When IA Sailors transit through Manas, they can expect to remain there for 24 to 48 hours, less than half the time currently experienced at Camp Virginia in Kuwait. While in Manas, NFHQ Manas will initiate pay and entitlements, process travel claims, and provide Sailors with information regarding Navy programs and specific support during their deployment. NAVCENT will continue to maintain a 24/7 watch in the Joint Movement Control Center to coordinate the movement of IA Sailors into Afghanistan.
For more news from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/clf/.