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In-processing goes virtual

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher S. Sparks
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Navigating a permanent change of station can be a difficult process for U.S. Air Force service members and their families. When moving to an overseas location, Airmen and their families have to work through the process of securing housing, obtaining a driver’s license, and finding schools for their children among other things.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, the widespread impact on Airmen and their families, specifically during in-processing into the 48th Fighter Wing, has created additional obstacles to include quarantine requirements and restriction of movement.

In light of COVID-19 restrictions in the U.K., the 48th FW Airman and Family Readiness Center developed and implemented a virtual series of in-processing videos, which are on the Liberty Wing’s base app, available to newcomers in quarantine.

“We wanted to be able to provide a resource that was available 24/7 that can be used by anyone in order to aid their transition to Royal Air Force Lakenheath,” said Angelina C. Quamina MBE, 48th FW A&FRC Base Level In-Processing Program manager.

According to Quamina, the 48th FW A&FRC has been able to in-process over 1,000 newcomers to the Liberty Wing since the program went live in September 2020. The program has also allowed the 48th FW A&FRC to hold the fastest average in-processing time in the entire U.S. Air Force, averaging seven days from start to finish.

The virtual series features 16 separate videos from various agencies across the Liberty Wing, providing their in-processing briefs containing the same information newcomers would receive during the traditional in-person presentations.

“When people first arrive on station, the things they are most concerned about are where they are going to live, how they are going to get their driver’s license in a foreign country, and where their children will go to school,” Quamina said. “All of the videos in the series feature essential information and once we build that foundation for them, we can continue to build on that.”

Newcomers can begin their in-processing by watching the virtual presentations while fulfilling current mandatory COVID-19 quarantine rules at the Temporary Lodging Facility on base. The videos allow them to successfully complete most of their in-processing requirements.

For Theresa Albers, a 48th FW spouse who recently in-processed using the virtual series, the videos proved to be a stress-relieving and informative asset.

“It definitely eased my anxiety about moving overseas,” Albers said. “The videos gave me all the information I needed to answer all of the questions I had as soon as we arrived on base. As soon as we were released from quarantine, we were able to get everything we needed because of them.”

Ensuring a smooth transition for Airmen and their families arriving at the 48th FW is part of the base’s top priorities, and the Liberty Wing continues to find innovative avenues to provide the support and information needed to accomplish that task.

“At a time when there are so many different platforms people can gather information from, it's important that we utilize those avenues in order to make sure the voice of our leadership at the Liberty Wing and the voice of our welcome is heard,” Quamina said. “It allows our newcomers to prepare for arrival and prepare for the culture shock of moving overseas.”

For all base in-processing instruction and direction, contact the 48th FW A&FRC at: DSN 226-3847 or Commercial 01638523847.