News: Manteca native deploys in support of Iraq transition
Story by Staff Sgt. David Salanitri
UNDISCLOSED LOCATION - A Manteca, Calif., native recently deployed to Southwest Asia to support the transition of U.S. forces in Iraq.
Master Sgt. Jason Bairos, non-commissioned officer in charge of Personnel Support for Contingency Operations, keeps accountability of personnel for a base in Southwest Asia that is starting up operations.
Arriving at a base that had fewer than 20 U.S. airmen on it, Bairos set up a PERSCO team. The team wears many hats that are key to the logistics of moving airmen throughout the area of operations here.
"Every airman, Marine, soldier or seaman who steps foot on this base will walk through my office at one point or another," said Bairos. "My team's job is to in-process every airman coming through, as well as work duties for them that a typical military personnel flight would at home locations. Re-enlistments, I.D. cards, promotions -- if we can't do it here, we do everything we can to get it done with our neighbor base."
In only weeks, the base went from zero airmen, to more than 1,000. In the upcoming weeks and months, Bairos' office will only get busier.
"On a base that has just stood up, knowing the assets and personnel is key for the commander," said Bairos. "If the fire station has 20 people, and one of them is missing, then that missing person can impact the mission. It's our job to know where people are."
As the transition of troops in Iraq pushes forward in the coming months, Bairos' work is cut out for him.
"For the past few days, we've received a big influx of people," said Bairos. "As troops transit in and out of the base, it is my job to make sure every airman gets to where he or she needs to be safely and efficiently. In many cases, I will be the last stop before an airman gets on the plane to go home to see their family. Getting to send them home is a great feeling."
After almost 23 years in the Air Force, Bairos still has a passion for his job.
"My job lets me be part of the highlights in people's career," said Bairos. "Getting to be part of someone's promotion or re-enlistment is an honor for me. Plus, who doesn't have a smile when going to their leave monitor. I love putting smiles on people. I love that part of my job."