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There I was ... Deployment a real-world lesson for MacDill Airman

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Steven Arthur II
  • 6th Communications Squadron
Some people never know what it's like until they've been there themselves. Most people have never been there at all, while the rest get their facts from another person or even worse ... the movies. I can tell you right now, movies aren't always the best way to perceive an image. The military personnel that have been in the situation can tell you the difference between the movies and the real deal. Yeah, I was there, and this is my story.

As an airman first class, new to MacDill Air Force Base, the last thing on my mind was departing to an overseas location. Several taskings came down, but none of them ever stuck except one, a deployment to Kuwait.

Turns out I had to leave a week early. At the time, there was a volcano erupting so I was stuck in a Washington D.C. airport for a week. As soon as I got adjusted to staying in the hotel, we got the call, "Report to the lobby at 0600, the plane is ready to go." For a second
I forgot I was tasked for a deployment, but now it's time to move forward.

On April 21, 2010, 18 hours later, and many cramps ago, we finally arrived at our destination. We had an in-brief, afterwards we gathered our things and proceeded to our dorm rooms. The whole time I dreaded the fact I was trapped in a little box with two other males, but with patience, and a lot of strength from the Lord, somehow I made it work. When I reported into work I found out I would be working for the logistic commander, in a shop made up of the superintendent, duty officer, first sergeant, and AFCENT local national officers. The squadron consisted of five flights with a total of 265 personnel. The job wasn't hard, just very demanding. Coming from a Communications background I knew nothing of logistics, but everyone came to me for everything. My duties consisted of the security manager, DBIDs for security forces, building manager, in/out-processing monitor, and client suppodmin for the squadron. For every question, I had an answer while supplying anything that was needed.

In addition to work I took some classes, hung out at the gym, got involved in squadron sports. To fill my free time I chose to take boxing classes after about a month of being there. It was the most appealing activity that was available at the time out the many that were offered.

Then during my second month, there was a whole changeover with leadership and flights, this stung me. I had to get to know and adjust to a whole new staff of people. The new rotation turned out to be pretty good, plus the new commander actually got involved with his people.

Between my second and third month, I was known as the "guru." There was pretty much no need to call comm, because I was there. I corrected numerous problems and fixed a lot of things that helped the squadron with their tasks. I acquired memorable associates and several awards. When it was time for me to leave, my first shirt came to me with one last task, to help write my own decoration. This wasn't hard, because I reviewed decorations since I first arrived and I even switched the process from paper to electronic.
The flight back to the United States was a lot longer than the flight there. We stopped at more airports than I could count.

Given the situation, where I was, and for the amount of time I was there, I felt that I was taken all the way out of my comfort zone and exposed to new challenges. But me, being the motivated person I am, I quickly adapted to the environment and took on the challenges presented. So, when you ask me the question about deployments I can say, "Yeah! I was there."