Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

November 23, 2010 at 2:04pm

APS reservists prepare to deploy

From left: Staff Sgt. Luis Rosado, a ramp specialist with the 36th Aerial Port Squadron here, Tech. Sgt. Richard Gerren, 36th APS inspector, and Staff Sgt. Michael Pritchett, 36th APS ramp specialist are preparing to deploy to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

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JOINT BASE LEWIS - MCCHORD, Wash. -- With record cargo, passenger and air traffic, the 455th Expeditionary Aerial Port Squadron at Bagram Airfield is getting some help from three Reservists with the 36th Aerial Port Squadron, here in supplying the fight in Afghanistan. 

Soon to deploy are Tech. Sgt. Richard Gerren, 36th APS inspector, and Staff Sgts. Michael Pritchett and Luis Rosado, 36th APS ramp specialists. In their first deployment to Afghanistan, these Reservists volunteered to support the air mobility effort in the war's cargo hub, with a mission to move enormous amounts of cargo and passenger traffic in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"There's a lot of pride in serving," said Sergeant Rosado, a Lynnwood, Wash. native who is also a crane operator for a local drywall company.  

"I like the front line," said Sergeant Gerren of his impending assignment as liaison and hazardous material inspector for the 455th EAPS. "It's all an adventure to me," he said. Sergeant Gerren  is also a construction maintenance supervisor for the State of Washington Department of Corrections.

All packed and ready to go, the aerial porters have planned their departure by ensuring their training, personal affairs and finances are in order. Equally important, their families and friends are ready for the mission as well.

"I just want to do my part," said Sergeant Pritchett of his upcoming mission.  "Unfortunately, I may miss the traditional black Friday shopping experience, but I made sure my wife had some extra money on hand," he said. 

Not only do Reservists rely on their military units, they also depend on their civilian employers for continued support during deployments. 

"My civilian employer offered to offset my base pay while I am away, which certainly helps," said Sergeant Pritchett, who is a fiber network field technician with an Oregon-based communications company.

The 455th EAPS is part of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, which serves U.S. Air Forces Central and provides close air support, combat search rescue, aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and airlift capabilities to U.S. and coalition forces supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.    

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