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Guard and Reserve liasons visit TCM

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Matt Benedetti
  • 376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
When a Guardsman or Reservist is activated and deploys for the first time, the transition can be challenging. Faced with a plethora of new information regarding entitlements, automated systems and an alphabet soup of acronyms to memorize; the shift can potentially leave the service member with more questions than answers.
Col. Bill Wolfarth and Lt. Col. Ray Otto understand. The officers, from the Ohio Air National Guard (178 FW) and Air Force Reserve (910AW) respectively, represent the AFCENT Air Reserve Component Liaison (ARC) office. They travel throughout the area of responsibility (AOR) meeting with deployed Air National Guardsmen and Air Force Reservists providing guidance and support for a wide range of issues.
The ARC team visited the Transit Center at Manas on 24, 25 and 26 June, meeting with several members.
"Our main mission is helping Air Reserve Component members understand their benefits and entitlements so they can focus on the mission," said Wolfarth, the senior Air Reserve component advisor. "Our job is to take care of the ARC member - if they have issues, we have issues." he said.
"As the forward ARC liaisons for AFCENT, we exist to help resolve issues that are ARC specific by meeting with Commanders, 1st Sergeants as well as Guard and Reserve personnel to manage expectations and put out fires when needed," said Wolfarth. A few of the issues they routinely address are orders, extensions and releases, pay and benefits, leave days as well as matters pertaining to operational and administrative control. "Any location in the AOR with more than 30 Guard or Reserve members, we try to visit," said Wolfarth.
Lt. Col. Robert Stefanowicz, deputy operations group commander of the 376th Expeditionary Operations Group, was glad he attended one of the briefings. "I thought it was very informative and a great reminder of the benefits and resources available," said Stefanowicz, deployed from Hickam Air Force Base. "Even after twenty three years of service, I learned some new information and was reminded of benefits I had forgotten about," he said.
"Probably, the most significant piece for Airmen to take away is that the ARC liaison is available to help," said Stefanowicz, a native of Linden N.J.
Tech. Sgt. Dana Granteed, a flight escort scheduler deployed from Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts, also found the briefing to be instructive. "I was very interested in information regarding educational benefits. After this deployment, I plan to enroll in school and use the Post 9-11 GI Bill," said Granteed, a native of Tolland, Conn. "Also, learning about Tri-Care entitlements was helpful," he said.
"I had a few questions that were specific to the Reserves and I now I have the answers, thanks to Col. Wolfarth. The briefing came at the perfect time," said Granteed.