AF Deployment Transition Center hits 5,000 milestone

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Aaron-Forrest Wainwright
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force Deployment Transition Center here first opened its doors July 10, 2010, and as of Jan. 4 more than 5,000 service members have processed through the center.

The center was developed to help those transitioning from dangerous operations in the theater back to day-to-day life.

In order to do this, the DTC staff provides a four-day program in a stress-free environment for service members returning from deployment.

The theory was to allow the members to relax and decompress before returning to their normal lives. The programs offered at the DTC were designed to ease integration before the service members return to work or family.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting; rooms have a kitchen and living room with couches, a television and game systems, which bring a piece of home and give returning service members a chance to relax.

"It's to give you a sense that you're going home; you're in a good place; you're in a good environment. You can relax and ... prepare for what you're going back to," said Lt. Col. Robert Rossi, DTC commander.

Rossi said they have seen large and small groups, including Navy and USMC personnel in addition to Airmen, transition through the center in the past two years but no matter the size of the group the staff does their best to help the service members ease out of the war mindset.

He said having 5,000 people process through is a significant milestone but without the hard work of the DTC staff they would have never been able to accomplish their mission.

"All the work [the DTC staff] has done has been positive and because of that we remain an enduring capability and it continues to be a part of what we do as a service to take care of our people," said Rossi.

The curriculum at the DTC begins with the DTC staff helping service members process into the DTC by greeting them upon arrival at Ramstein, handling baggage, storing weapons in the armory and obtaining lodging for each person during their stay. On the second day, the Airmen participate in small group discussions with career experts to help communicate their experiences while deployed.

"It was a good experience to haves" said Master Sgt. Jason Barton, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron vehicle operator, "Even now when I sit through the combat portion I can recognize things that I've done in the past, and now I try to be more aware of this behavior."