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Keesler AFB PERSCO team preps to support Harvey relief effort

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- A six-person Personnel Support for Contingency Operations team made up of 81st Force Support Squadron members deployed from Keesler Air Force Base to Texas in support of Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts.

The PERSCO team is primarily responsible for the accountability of all deployed military members supporting hurricane relief efforts in the area to include active-duty, Reserve and Guard from all branches.

The PERSCO team is stationed out of Kelly Annex near Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. All ground commanders are responsible for reporting personnel status to the PERSCO team on a regular basis.

“The team will have to account for all military members taking part in recovery and rescue efforts, no matter where they are, they will be required to report their status up to the Air Force Personnel Center in case members get seriously injured or go missing,” said Master Sgt. Krista Mercadel, the 81st FSS military personnel section superintendent. “Accountability is vital to keeping commanders on the ground informed about service member strength at all times.”

Mercadel also mentioned the team is ready for this deployment and does monthly training to prepare themselves for just such a mission.

“The team is excited about going, they're happy to be able to do their job in a deployed location,” said Mercadel. “The members of (Keesler AFB) are there for our fellow wingmen no matter where they are or the circumstances.“

The 81st FSS team includes Chief Master Sgt. Leslie Jackson, the superintendent, Master Sgt. Nikki Gulley, the NCOIC of career development, Tech Sgt. Jamie Bell, an assignments counselor, Staff Sgt. Deltron McRae, a student personnel assignment counselor, Senior Airmen Corey Easley, a force management journeyman and Thanh Ngan Le, a retention counselor. They will be joined with five other service members from Goodfellow AFB, Texas to create an 11-person team.

“This is why we’re here, to help people out and accomplish the mission,” said Lt Col Teresa Ammons, the 81st FSS commander. “We’re very excited and so happy to be able to go down and help people get back on their feet.”