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NEO: Do I stay or do I go?

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael O'Connor
  • 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The four-day U.S. Forces Korea Courageous Channel 2006-2 semi-annual non-combatant evacuation operations exercise kicks off Thursday. 

All noncombatants in Area V, which includes family members, civilians and contractors at Osan, are expected to take part and process through the Evacuation Control Centers during the exercise Oct. 27 and 28 only. Nine volunteers from Osan will take part in a sail-away and fly-away to Japan. 

"NEO is like a seatbelt," said Master Sgt. Grant Embrey, Area V superintendent of NEO. "It's one of those things that may seem inconvenient at times, but it will save your life when needed." 

Mrs. Daniela Krengel, wife of Senior Airman Benjamin Krengel, 303rd Intelligence Squadron, has been at Osan for about a year now and said she's had to process through an ECC twice. 

"The first time I processed, I didn't know what to do, where to go or what to expect. Now I'm ready," said Mrs. Krengel, a native of Brazil. "My husband's squadron just did a quarterly review of their NEO program, and I thought it was wonderful. They issued me a NEO binder to put all our documents in, and the thing I liked the most is it's well organized which, makes it easy to find what I'm looking for. It also has a checklist of things to keep track of during the year and when to notify the NEO warden, such as at the birth of our daughter Gabriella a few months ago. All I have to do is zip it up and go," she added. 

While every unit has a NEO program, Master Sgt. Embrey said the 303rd's program is a good example of a well-organized program. The binder mirrors the processing line of an ECC and centralizes and organizes all necessary documents allowing families to get to the ECC quicker and process through the ECC line with greater ease. 

Staff Sgt. James Allen, 303rd IS NEO warden, designed the binder, which has the unit's NEO program logo and theme "No One Left Behind" on the cover to make it stand out, a carrying handle, and zips up to protect important documents from the elements and from falling out. In addition to the binder, Tech. Sgt. Yesinia Martinez, 303rd IS, designed a NEO activity coloring book for children. 

Are you ready? Is your family ready? Do you know what to do, what to bring, and where to go when the decision is made to get non-combatants out of harm's way? 

"If anyone is unclear about any aspect of NEO and what they should do as a non-combatant, they should contact their NEO warden or commander support staff," said Master Sgt Embrey. "You can also, call the Airman and Family Readiness Center, 784-5440."