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There I was: Eager to embrace the challenge

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jermale Ayers
  • 6th Security Forces Squadron
I was fresh off of a four-year Air Force recruiting assignment in Vacaville, Calif., and got stationed at MacDill Air Force Base. I was in my original career field as a member of the 6th Security Forces Squadron. I had been at MacDill for approximately three and a half months before I was informed that I would be deploying for six months to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

Even though I had just returned to security forces, I knew it would not be long before I would be required to deploy again, so I was not shaken by the news. Having the opportunity to deploy was something that I truly missed during my time as a recruiter. There are certain sacrifices that are associated with any deployment, but I was eager to embrace the challenge.

For the mission, my four-person team was tasked to deploy as a part of a headquarters team. We were required to attend specialized training at the security forces regional training center located at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. The members of my team included Staff Sgt. Tchalla Barfield, Senior Airman William McCann and Senior Airman Daniel Poorman.

True leaders simply step up without being asked. I was fortunate to have a team of leaders who led the way on several occasions while at the Air Force Regional Training Center. We did not know someone was taking notice and that our efforts would be the deciding factor for big decisions later. Whether it was taking pace count, compass readings or leading a fire team on a recon mission, Team MacDill always stepped up to the challenge.

Once we arrived to our deployed location, we were placed in critical positions. I would like to believe the selections were directly attributed to the outstanding performances and leadership qualities that each of my team members displayed while at RTC.

The flight commander at our deployed location happened to be Capt. Michael Twinning, who had been our class leader at RTC. He had taken notice of Team MacDill's performance while at RTC and rewarded the effort our team put out.

During your career you meet many people. Everyone has some sort of impact, no matter how small on your life. On this deployment I crossed paths with previous commanders, old co-workers and people that I helped join the Air Force as a recruiter. I try not to burn bridges as I go through my life, so that when I do meet people I used to know, there are no hard feelings.
Just by chance, I ran into an individual in the dining facility whom I met on a previous deployment. We enjoyed that period of working together. We ended up working together during this deployment too.

During the deployment I worked for Lt. Col. Troy Austin, my previous commander when I was stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. One night while getting ready for duty, I walked into the hygiene area and got a pleasant surprise. I bumped into an airman I helped join the Air Force as a security forces member. When I spoke to him he was shocked to see me. At first I wasn't sure if his initial reaction was one of surprise or disdain, but it was definitely a made-for-television moment. He went on to express that he has enjoyed his time in the Air Force so far, and he appreciated the opportunity to serve.

Your Air Force career all comes down to you always putting your best foot forward. Always do your best and you will always make a good impression. The impact of your actions and the impressions you leave behind, whether good or bad, more often than not are lasting ones.

Our Air Force core value of excellence in all we do should never be viewed as just a catch phrase. It should be something we live by on a daily basis, because you never know when your past will come back full circle.