HomeNewsArticle Display

Camp Gulfport opens doors for ROM operations

Members of the Air National Guard and the 403rd Wing work together loading bags onto a truck at Camp Gulfport, which is located at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, where one Restriction of Movement operation was set up in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. ROMs were put into effect before all deployments start, in order to ensure the safety of service members in the U.S. Central, Africa, and European Commands area of responsibilty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jessica L. Kendziorek)

Members of the Air National Guard and the 403rd Wing work together loading bags onto a truck at Camp Gulfport, Miss., Oct. 1, 2020, during a restriction of movement operation. ROMs were put into effect before all deployments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in order to ensure the safety of service members in the U.S. Central, Africa and European Commands area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jessica L. Kendziorek)

Members of the Air National Guard and the 403rd Wing work together loading bags onto a truck at Camp Gulfport, which is located at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, where one Restriction of Movement operation was set up in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. ROMs were put into effect before all deployments start, in order to ensure the safety of service members in the U.S. Central, Africa, and European Commands area of responsibilty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jessica L. Kendziorek)

Members of the Air National Guard and the 403rd Wing work together loading bags onto a truck at Camp Gulfport, Miss., Oct. 1, 2020, during a restriction of movement operation. ROMs were put into effect before all deployments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in order to ensure the safety of service members in the U.S. Central, Africa, and European Commands area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jessica L. Kendziorek)

Members of the Air National Guard and the 403rd Wing work together loading bags onto the airplane with the deployers at Camp Gulfport, which is located at the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, where one Restriction of Movement operation was set up in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. ROMs were put into effect before all deployments start, in order to ensure the safety of service members in the U.S. Central, Africa, and European Commands area of responsibilty. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Shawn Baldy)

Members of the Air National Guard and the 403rd Wing work together loading bags onto an aircraft filled with deploying service members, Oct. 1, 2020. The efforts are a part of a restriction of movement operation at Camp Gulfport, Miss., in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. ROMs were put into effect before the beginning of all deployment in order to ensure the safety of service members in the U.S. Central, Africa, and European Commands area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Shawn Baldy)

GULFPORT COMBAT READINESS TRAINING CENTER, Miss. (AFNS) --

In a year where change became the new normal, deployment preparation has had to adapt and overcome the challenges that the coronavirus presented.

With preventing the spread of COVID-19 being a top priority, Headquarters Air Force had to develop a new process to ensure the safety of the service members before deployment into the U.S. Central, Africa and European Commands’ areas of responsibility.

“Back in July, HAF reached out to us to see if we could assist with ROM (restriction of movement) operations,” said Col. Berry L. McCormick, Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center commander. “While I explained that we have the facilities, we don’t have the full-time staffing for operations, so they would have to provide the manpower to handle the operations side.”

The reason for setting up these ROM operations is to reduce risk to both the force and mission. With deploying personnel traveling into AORs worldwide, service members must comply with specified Center for Disease Control and Prevention Department of Defense ROM guidance before departure, which mitigates the threat of introducing COVID-19 into the assigned AOR.

As the first group of deployers grew closer to arriving at the Gulfport CRTC, McCormick reached out to the 403rd Wing for assistance.

Lt. Col. Reginald Trujillo, 403rd Mission Support Group commander, who arrived in August 2020 answered that call.

“He (McCormick) called, introduced himself and explained what was going on and asked if the 403rd could help, at least initially,” Trujillo said. “We agreed to help, which began the conversation between us, the CRTC and HAF. This opportunity was going to test our ability to provide expeditionary combat support by providing food services, aerial port, law enforcement and personnel support for contingency operations. However, what made this opportunity special was instead of being in another AOR, we were going to be 20 minutes down the road from Keesler (AFB).”

After receiving a deployment-manning document, Trujillo sent the information out to the units within the wing and immediately began receiving volunteers from across the MSG, operations group, maintenance group and the aeromedical staging squadron.

The command staff for the Gulfport CRTC ROM Operation, known as Camp Gulfport, consists of both Guard and Reserve members, with three out of four of the members from the 403rd Wing: the commander is from operations group, the operations officer and superintendent are from the MSG, and the first sergeant, Master Sgt. Rodgrick Anderson, is from the Air National Guard’s 186th Air Refueling Wing.

“We certainly couldn’t have done this without the 403rd,” McCormick said. “Approximately 40% of the personnel running this ROM operation is from the 403rd Wing, with the remaining personnel coming from many Mississippi Air National Guard units, as well as volunteers from guard units across multiple states.”

What exactly did these volunteers of reservists and guard members sign up to do?

Well, to begin with, they did not know what a ROM was or how they were going to make it work; but they were going in there with the sole purpose of making it happen and they have.

Walking in the door at Camp Gulfport, Lt. Col. Dena Williams, commander and a 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron pilot, and Chief Master Sgt. David Paladino, 403rd Force Support Squadron superintendent, had to start from the ground up setting up and establishing the ROM rules of engagement before the first group of deployers arrived about a week later.

“We are learning as we go,” Williams said. “I had to learn first off what a ROM was, so thanks to Chief (Master Sgt.) Paladino who reached out to other ROMs and found out what we needed to know. We are taking that information and running with it.”

A ROM is a restriction of movement. It is not a quarantine. This is for someone who has not been in contact with a person who has symptoms of COVID-19 and the ROM is meant to keep them symptom-free. Their health is monitored and routinely checked to ensure they remain symptom and COVID-19 free before being allowed to deploy. They have certain movement guidelines that they are required to follow, such as time limits in certain areas, and they are required to wear masks at all times.

On active-duty bases, these operations are very basic. Once a deployer shows up and is placed in restriction-of-movement status, the deployer is assigned a room, allowed one hour outside for workout time, and has their meals delivered to them by someone from the base who is assigned the additional-duty task of taking care of the personnel until they leave.

“Most of the ROMs are 14 to 21 days long, the deployers are given a room and they stay there for 23 hours a day. Their food is dropped off and they get one hour outside a day,” Williams said.

However, Camp Gulfport is on a National Guard CRTC base, which is a minimally-staffed base and is usually reserved for training situations, but 2020 left a lot of time slots open due to COVID-19 cancellations.

“The CRTC has everything we need physically; rooms, a track for outdoor exercise, a DFAC (dining facility), even a shoppette,” Williams said, “except full-time staff. Luckily, between the volunteers from the Air National Guard units and the 403rd Wing, we were able to get the manpower we needed to run everything.”

And run everything they do.

They have food runners, mail runners, store runners, drivers and even baggage handlers when it comes time to head out the door. They are there to make sure the deployers have what they need when they need it.

As with any first group, there is a learning curve and this was no different.

“Because we have the resources, we are running our ROM a little differently. We are letting them out a little longer, giving them three hours a day during daylight hours, especially when we have nice weather. We have Security Forces on staff keeping an eye on them,” Williams said.

This will continue as long as they do not break the rules or restrictions that they are given.

Another difference is that Camp Gulfport is operating the DFAC; staffing it and cooking three meals a day with both Guard and Reservists preparing the food.

The deployers are given the rules and expected to follow those rules. If they fail to follow the rules, they may be sent back to their home station, which makes them undeployable and once they return home they may be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“We have to certify that the group followed all protocols before they can even load their baggage on the plane,” Williams said. “We even follow the protocols of the AOR that they are headed to if that area is more stringent.”

And for the first group, the ROM that signed off was a success. For the Camp Gulfport staff, it was a learning experience.

Staff Sgt. Cody Owen and Senior Airman Arbaneze Johnson, bothvmembers of the Mississippi’s ANG’s 255th Air Control Squadron, worked alongside Senior Airman Marcus Wilson, 403rd Logistics Readiness Squadron member, loading bags into a truck as the first group of deployers got ready to leave after their ROM was finished.

Even though this isn’t their regular military duty and they are helping by transporting bags, they all agreed that working together has been fun. Getting to know each other, networking and having active-duty Airmen rely on them in this aspect has increased the respect level for the Guard and Reserve because for the ROM group to get overseas, these Guard and Reservists have to do their job stateside.

“It is a testament to the can-do attitude of Guardsmen and Reservists to volunteer in a support role, to help the war fighter on the other end,” McCormick said. “Because at the end of the day, this is not glamorous. This is getting the combatant commander overseas the manpower required that they need in order to rotate the manpower in and out. It isn’t glamorous, but it is very important.”

Engage

Twitter
“As we continue to accelerate change, we have to think outside the box on how we train." - Capt. Dmytro Pichkur, 61… https://t.co/sLkVA5ctCP
Twitter
“In order to accelerate the change we need in the #AirForce, Team Edwards understands that no one can do this alone… https://t.co/OH0xBzS3YY
Twitter
The @AF_Academy is committed to developing leaders of character. Their graduates have always inspired others. Soon,… https://t.co/rjSmH70SN8
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: #success! This is the 6th flight of the Valkyrie for @AFResearchLab & the first time the payload bay doors have been opened…
Twitter
Don't miss this event LIVE at 3 p.m.! https://t.co/CFkBHJMCsi
Twitter
.@TeamTyndall's SrA Can Liu deployed to support the #COVID19 vaccination efforts in New York. She is the only Airma… https://t.co/LIfeJ48lNL
Twitter
The newest aircraft in the #AirForce fleet has been christened the F-15EX Eagle II. The Eagle II includes the lates… https://t.co/4TIA52fk06
Twitter
Congratulations to the Royal Danish Air Force on the delivery of their first F-35 today! Our Danish friends have be… https://t.co/Gg4fduigTg
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Thank you to @Princeton for having me speak today with their University Lecture Series. I greatly appreciate the opportun…
Twitter
#DYK The #AirForce is the only military branch that has service-wide guidance on acquisition programs, defining cyb… https://t.co/UJZcxugySn
Twitter
RT @366FW: Air Force Chief of Staff @GenCQBrownJr shares some words of wisdom with our Gunfighters! Our Airmen continue to #acceleratecha
Twitter
April is recognized as the Month of the Military Child. The ever-changing military lifestyle impacts every member o… https://t.co/hmvocXQaGL
Twitter
Airmanship 200 is the second of three development courses that new #Airmen receive to better understand #AirForce v… https://t.co/1rueS9ToLP
Twitter
#ICYMI -- The Department of the Air Force published a website where #Airmen and @SpaceForceDoD #Guardians can acces… https://t.co/0YJcST5XaT
Twitter
Combating #COVID19 one shot at a time. https://t.co/EVyenHCi5D
Twitter
The Department of the Air Force-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Accelerator is helpin… https://t.co/cfsdOX43hY
Twitter
.@LRAFB, Arkansas, Airmen completed 106 sorties, 254 flying hours, and nearly 2,000 training events during a multi-… https://t.co/3YOSh8DvcT
Twitter
Today is Gold Star Spouses Day. It honors the surviving loved ones of military service members killed in the line o… https://t.co/JYCacpkds5
Twitter
Everyone is susceptible to invisible wounds. These wounds have an impact can develop at any time, in any place, in… https://t.co/XxPKyovJc9
Twitter
#AirForce Civil Engineer Center Operation Directorate teams are following safety protocols and working closely with… https://t.co/4IjMrV240S
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,340,548
Follow Us