Civilian Deployment Training Continues at Camp Atterbury
By Army Maj. Lisa Kopczynski and Timothy Sproles
Camp Atterbury Public Affairs
CAMP ATTERBURY JOINT MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Edinburgh, Ind., Dec. 4, 2013 Although military mobilizations are scaled down and unit deployments are no longer a primary mission set here due to the drawdown of troops overseas, hundreds of contractors from various agencies or contract companies from around the nation continue to deploy civilians to regions around world from Camp Atterbury.
Civilian contractors participate in personal protective equipment familiarization classes at the Individual Replacement Deployment Operations complex on the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center in Edinburgh, Ind., Nov. 20, 2013. Indiana Army National Guard photo by Timothy Sproles
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
That mission is called the Individual Replacement Deployment Operations -- better-known as IRDO. It is a world-class training program for deploying contractors and civilians who are authorized to accompany U.S. military forces in combatant commands operating overseas.
IRDO is a six-day, 40-hour program of instruction that runs from Sunday through Friday. According to Indiana Army National Guard Capt. Matthew Limeberry, IRDO operations officer, the program is designed to meet all command theater entry requirements and validates personnel prior to deployment.
“What makes Camp Atterbury and the IRDO operation so unique is, first off, our walking campus,” Limeberry said.
The operation also provides excellent customer service, he said.
“We give them [civilians] the individual detail that they would demand as you would walk into any store on the market, Limeberry said. “We greet them with a smile on day zero and we’re by their side the entire time.”
Lisa Mickles, who hails from Corinth, Miss., is a Department of the Army civilian assigned to the 59th Signal Battalion and stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. She recently volunteered for the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce program and is now in Afghanistan supporting logistics operations.
Prior to her departure to Afghanistan, Mickles was asked about her time at Camp Atterbury.
“I am a firm believer, that if the nation calls on us or our warfighters need us, that civilians should deploy to assist them,” she said. Mickles has deployed many times from other locations around the nation, she said, but this is her first visit to Camp Atterbury.
“Everything has run very smoothly,” Mickles said. “They’ve kept us on a schedule, but it has been open and flowing so we’ve had time to do things we need to do in order to deploy.”
Afghanistan-bound Otis Sutton, from Los Angeles, is a Department of Energy contractor working for Airscan Inc. He is also an Air Force veteran who served six years before departing the military in 2011. He very much wanted to be involved in military operations and believes his contract job offers him just that experience.
Sutton has deployed for other contractors before, he said. Atterbury’s civilian deployment training program is organized, he added.
“How they divide the teams up is actually kind of beneficial in deconflicting a lot of the same activities we have to do,” he said. “It really makes it easy to move through and get your requirements knocked out.”
IRDO representatives recently took some employers through multiple phases of the civilian deployment processing system here, to include visits to the central issue facility, the medical, finance and personnel processing sections, and the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle trainer.
One employer, Ivelina Konstantinova, a mobilization and deployment manager with Trace Systems in Tysons Corner, Va., said she was impressed with the operation.
Konstantinova said it was a great opportunity that the IRDO team proposed a seminar for deployment managers, which provided an overview of predeployment training for civilians and contractors.
“The team has done a marvelous job and I am very fortunate to come out and see what they did,” Konstantinova said. “You cannot tell your contractors what to expect without having been through the same process. You can tell them all the information that is out there, but if you actually go through the process and know what you need to expect then you are better prepared as individuals and as a company.”
Sheila Wines is a contract manager with Scitor Corporation in Reston, Va. She took the time to travel here to learn more about the training program and was pleased with how accommodating, well organized and detailed it is.
“We had the opportunity and the privilege of walking in the steps of what our people would do when they are processing and getting ready to deploy,” Wines said.