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UDM: We stand ready

An Airman sorts through deployment folders.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vincent Daus, 19th Maintenance Squadron unit deployment manager, sorts through deployment folders at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, June 5, 2019. UDMs are responsible for ensuring emerging operations are met with enduring Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

“We stay ready so we don’t have to get ready,” is the mantra of the 19th Maintenance Squadron unit deployment manager, whose main focus is to ensure Airmen are prepared for a deployment when it is called upon them.

A UDM is a special-duty assignment in which Airmen step away from their career fields for up to two years. The position is a pivotal part of force generation to ensure emerging operations are met with equipped Airmen.

“Our job is to have a member fully qualified and trained-up at a moment’s notice,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Vincent Daus, 19th MXS UDM.

On average, there are nearly 55 different items that must be completed to ensure an Airman is deployment ready.

“UDMs really take off a lot of the stress that comes with preparing for a deployment,” said U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Hunter Golembiewski 19th MXS crew chief. “They make sure all of your questions are answered and that you are fully equipped with everything to succeed down range while knowing that your family will be taken care of back home.”

UDMs may have a long list of daily requirements but each get a real sense of accomplishment on everything coming together and becoming a fine-tuned machine in order to get an Airman out the door.

“We make sure you don’t fall flat on your face,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bryan Smith, 19th MXS UDM. “We set you up for success. It’s not your job to know everything you have to do to get ready to leave, that’s our job.”

Although getting an Airman on an aircraft is the end result of a tasking, the UDMs remain in contact with the deployed Airmen to ensure they have everything necessary to achieve the combat airlift mission.

Following a deployment, the UDM welcomes Airmen back as they complete the in-processing checklist before reintegrating back home.

“I love sending people out, but I also love bringing them home,” Smith said. “Team Little Rock has always done a good job at welcoming Airmen returning from deployments. After returning from my last deployment, I was just overwhelmed after getting off the aircraft to see all of the people and families genuinely happy to see us.”

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