USA: Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Honors Individual Augmentees
Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island honored and recognized the contributions of its individual augmentee (IA) Sailors at an IA appreciation event held at the Chief Petty Officers’ Club, April 26.
The semi-annual NAS Whidbey Island Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) event is held each April and October to honor Sailors who have deployed as an IA.
“We have our semi-annual celebration of our IA’s, the ones that are about to deploy, the ones who are deployed and those that have recently returned,” said Jim Reynolds, work and family life consultant at The Fleet and Family Support Center at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. “In addition, we are putting on a celebration for all warriors.”
The event offered those preparing to depart the chance to network and receive responses to unanswered questions from Sailors who have experienced the deployments first-hand.
“Tonight we’ll have a presentation by two actors that will depict the reunion of a man and a woman after war or after a deployment and see the dynamic that exists between these two coming back together after an event like that,” said Reynolds.
A production of “Into the Fire” was presented by Carrie Gibson and Tony Curry of Had To Be productions about returning veterans and the stories they tell as the they integrate into families, communities and the workforce.
“Our plays are created by the people we interview, they’re all true. Someone came up to us and said we needed to do a play on returning veterans, disabilities and trauma,” said Gibson. “We interviewed two people and were completely moved by their humanity of their story that we ended up writing this play which has been on an incredible journey for three years.”
The actors delivered their lines at rapid pace, changing characters along with adopting different voices and postures.
The play lasted 45 minutes and concluded with an open forum with questions and answers for IAs to discuss their experiences while deployed, as well as receiving information for those who are about to deploy.
“I came here to educate myself on the individual augmentee program and see what it was about. I learned that a lot goes into it with the support groups available on base and how to prepare for it,” said Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Alex Singo, of Las Vegas, assigned to Maritime Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, who is preparing to deploy.
Currently 187 Sailors from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island are deployed as IAs.
“It’s great to have support and get together with other people that have done the same thing,” said Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Lachanda Williams of Phoenix, assigned to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island Operations Department. “It’s a great place to network, hear other people’s stories and be able to share and meet new people.”
Whidbey Sailors have deployed as IAs to Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Djibouti, and Cuba.
Naval Today Staff , April 30, 2012;