Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

February 21, 2011 at 4:00am

446th AW maintainer answers own call of duty with 10 deployments

Master Sgt. Brian Lidyard (center) stands with Ugandan troops in a control tower in Iraq, Jan. 21, 2011 during his 120-day deployment. This was Sergeant Lidyard's 10th deployment in his Reserve career. The Puyallup, Wash. resident has been with the 446th

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MCCHORD FIELD, Wash -- Most Reservists have their reasons for joining the Air Force Reserve. For some it may be for the education and training. For others, it could be the satisfaction of serving their country on a part-time basis while being able to work as a civilian and live in their hometown. But many just simply want to serve their country the best they can.

A prime example is a Reservist in the 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, who "walks his talk" about serving in the Air Force and having the will to make a difference for the United States, despite the sacrifices he makes during the process.

Master Sgt. Brian Lidyard, 446th AMXS expeditor, has been with the 446th Airlift Wing since 1981 and has been through 10 deployments since 2002. He just returned from his most recent tour in Iraq in January.

"Brian brings a lot to the table with his experience," said Lt. Col. Luke Upton, 446th AMXS commander. "He lives the (Air Force) Core Values and gets chosen for deployments because of his experience and his willingness to serve." 

Sergeant Lidyard volunteered for all but one of his deployments, which was a short-notice deployment in 2005.

"I was informed that I'd be going on a deployment to Iraq and I needed to be ready to leave in 48 hours," said the Boeing functional test technician.

Sergeant Lidyard explains why he volunteers.

"Deep down, I am very patriotic," he said. "Plus, I want to make my Reserve career mean the most it can to me and my country and I want my family to be proud of me."

Speaking of family, his wife of 31 years and three sons support his choice to serve in the Reserve.

"My wife knows the passion I have to serve my country," said Sergeant Lidyard. "When I was activated in 2002, deployments were new to me and my family, so we all had to learn together. With my wife and kids being so supportive, it only makes us grow stronger when I am away."

Just one of the battles he had to deal with on the home front while he was away was dealing with his mother's fight with cancer, not once, but twice.

"My mother was diagnosed with cancer twice, four years apart," he said. "They were both during deployments, but she has survived. My mother was conditioned to deployments with my father being a retired Marine. She never once wanted me to stay behind. She is a fighter."

Sergeant Lidyard's military coworkers admire his dedication.

"His work ethic is stellar," said Senior Master Sgt. Cameron Pence, 446th AMXS Aircraft Maintenance Unit superintendent. "He's a force multiplier. Not only do we know that he's going to spend the energy to be the best that he can at it, but he's going to take everybody around him and make them better at what they do. He makes an impact that's bigger than he is."

Chief Master Sgt. Steve Slagle, 446th AMXS superintendent, gets a sense of relief when Sergeant Lidyard goes to deploy, because he knows the job will get done.

"It's one less thing you have to worry about if you deploy with a guy like him," said the Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector. "You know things will be taken care of and run smoothly. It gives you a higher level of confidence."

Sergeant Lidyard's civilian career hasn't suffered from his Reserve commitment. In fact, the people at his job have been supportive.

"Boeing has gone above and beyond what is required and leadership has always been supportive," he said. "I have never had any issues with Boeing while I'm on orders. My direct supervisors Facebook me while I'm gone and keep in touch, so that's always good."

Sergeant Lidyard has words of advice for younger Airmen who haven't deployed or who are deploying for the first time.

"Learn as much as you can at all times," said the 30-plus-year veteran. "You never know when you will get that call to deploy without notice, or if a chance comes along to volunteer."

Although he filed his retirement papers to end on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, he does wonder about giving up his service in the Reserve.

"I submitted my retirement papers a few months ago," he said. But I ask myself if I am really ready to not serve anymore. If I am not willing to deploy anymore, maybe it's time to retire and let someone else have my stripe."

Overall, Sergeant Lidyard has no qualms with his service.

"I have no regrets in serving my country and deploying," said the Puyallup, Wash. resident. "If it was not for my wife, sons, and their strong faith ... I would have never been able to do this much."

Sergeant Lidyard's deployments since 2002:

1.  Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, April to July 2002
2.  Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, September 2002 to January 2003
3.  Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. (Operation Iraqi Freedom build up), February to May 2003
4.  Germany, May to June 2003
5.  Southwest Asia, September to November 2003
6.  Germany, September 2004 to January 2005
7.  Iraq, September to December 2005
8.  Afghanistan, September to December 2006
9.  Operation Deep Freeze, November 2007
10. Iraq, September 2010 to January 2011

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