Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

January 31, 2011 at 8:54am

Local Reservists return home from various deployments

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MCCHORD FIELD, Wash.- More than 30 Air Force Reservists from the 446th Airlift Wing, who deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn, returned home Jan. 24 after four-month mobilizations.

The Reservists, who served in locations from Europe to Southwest Asia, are returning to their families and civilian careers in Pacific Northwest towns from Wilsonville, Ore. to Everett.

These Reservists performed a wide spectrum of duties and services because one of the capacities of the 446th AW is providing ground support during overseas contingencies. This particular group of heroes came from the aeromedical evacuation, aircraft maintenance, cargo handling, and logistical career fields, making up diverse personnel who are experts in their respective crafts.  

While Reservists like Senior Airman Vikash Prakash, 86th Aerial Port Squadron, were working a minimum of 12-hour shifts, six days a week, moving more than 8,000 passengers, 1,000 tons of cargo and supplies on more than 600 aircraft, including moving an Army brigade of 170 Soldiers, 97 tons of their cargo on seven C-17s and eight C-130s, at a high operations tempo at Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq, their families had to deal with their own stressors with little assistance.

"My wife was pregnant with our fourth child while I was gone," said the Camano Island, Wash. resident. "I check in with her every day and fortunately, she was able to handle it without me. I can help her out now that I'm back because the baby is due March 17."

Reservists not only have to deal with the stress of being away from their families, but also leaving their civilian employers behind.

Tech. Sgt. Brendan Caldwell, 86th APS, who also deployed to Kirkuk AB is fortunate to have an employer who supports the military and the Reserve mission.

"I'm an operations supervisor for Alaska Airlines, which is similar to my job with the aerial port" said the Seattle resident. "I'm able to apply skills that I get from deployments such as leadership skills day-to-day tasks like tracking incoming aircraft and making sure ground operations run smoothly. My military experience skills set is one of the reasons I got my job and they've always supported me with my military duty." 

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