You've probably heard the acronym, IA, but maybe aren't quite sure what it means. An individual augmentee (IA) is a Sailor that temporarily deploys individually or with a small group to support the Global War on Terrorism. IAs are sent to assist commands in other branches of the service, primarily the Army and Marine Corps. These assignments are not on ships, but on the ground in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay or Africa. IAs can be sent anywhere in the world that they are needed. The Navy has now incorporated IA assignments for Sailors into the detailing process called, Global War on Terrorism Support Assignments (GSA). Sailors can now negotiate with their detailer for an IA or GSA assignment when they’re within their normal detailing window. There are some facets of an IA assignment that present special challenges for Sailors and their families that include:
• relatively short notice of the deployment
• deployments are typically longer than Sailors are used to
• combat skills training for the deployment
• elements of danger not associated with shipboard deployments
Since the Sailor is deploying as an individual, and not with their unit, Sailors and their families may feel somewhat isolated from others in the command. The good news is that IA doesn't mean "I'm Alone". There are many support mechanisms to help Sailors and their families deal with the particular stresses they can experience.
The Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center (ECRC) was established to be a channel of information for Sailors and their families during an IA assignment. ECRC maintains a hotline for IAs and their families. Call (877) 364-4302 or visit the website at www.ecrc.navy.mil.
Command Ombudsmen and Family Readiness Groups are other sources of support for IA families. Most Sailors remain attached to their parent commands during their IA assignment. The command's ombudsman is charged with providing the same kinds of support to IA families that is provided when the entire command deploys. Knowing the ombudsman's contact information is a very good idea. For IA families, it's essential.
If you have questions about an IA assignment, contact your ombudsman, Sailor's chain of command, or the FFSC at 243-3372.
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