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NAPLES, Italy — Starting on Monday, all Navy individual augmentees and their commands have to complete a new checklist that ensures sailors are medically, legally, financially and professionally ready to go downrange.

IAs deploy alone, as opposed to deploying with an entire unit, and they fill specific job requirements for combatant commanders. The checklist covers such areas as medical status, promotion eligibility, training certifications, banking and credit card information and updating of wills. It must be completed within a month of the sailor receiving IA orders.

"The new checklist has taken all of the medical and administrative requirements that were in different places and consolidated them," said Cmdr. Roy Strachan, with IA support for Fleet Forces Command.

"The old checklists weren’t fully inclusive. The new checklist builds advocates in the process so the sailor and his or her family isn’t doing this on their own. It’s a team effort."

When deployed, IAs may be attached to other services, such as Army or Marine Corps units. Sailors tapped for such duty may be permanently transferred as an IA or assigned on a temporary basis, leaving their command for up to a year.

There are currently more than 14,000 sailors serving in IA jobs in Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Africa, the U.S. and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to the Fleet Forces Command.

Commands assign an IA coordinator to help sailors complete requirements for their new assignments. Commands are also required to keep in contact at least once a month with sailors during deployments, even if they’re no longer attached to the unit because of the IA assignment.

"Command involvement is key. We don’t want the sailor to feel like he or she has been abandoned," Strachan said. "It helps reduce stress so they can concentrate on the mission at hand and not worry about the support network for their families."

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