Engage

T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
T
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
F
Logo
Facebook
1,983,587
Like Us
Twitter
399,523
Follow Us
YouTube Google+ Blog RSS Instagram

News Search

Clear

Through Airmen's Eyes: Linguist shoulders seven deployments in five years

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) --

(This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

Seven deployments in five years is a feat not many Airmen can claim. 

Serving as a career enlisted aviator on the RC-135 Rivet Joint, Staff Sgt. Chris has spent nearly 735 days deployed flying more than 2,000 hours with more than 400 combat sorties. 

The Nashville, Tenn., native joined the military in 2006, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who was an Army artilleryman during the Korean War. After two years of technical training as a linguist, he was assigned to his first operational flying squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. 

Since the beginning of his operational career, Chris said, "I haven't stopped deploying." 

And he couldn't be closer to the truth, as he recently served a tour here at the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing. 

While deployed, it was not uncommon for Chris to fly daily operational sorties over extended periods of time. The enlisted aviator flew and deployed often because of his unique ability as a linguist on the RC-135 Rivet Joint. Unlike many career fields, linguists are unique in the fact that their job on the Rivet Joint can only be accomplished while deployed. For this reason, Airmen like him continuously rotate in and out of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility. 

"Having a chance to do our job and knowing that it matters, makes the deployments easier to manage," Chris said. "It's extremely rewarding to know that we're providing support to our ground troops that helps ensure their safety and successful completion of their mission." 

Linguist's unique capabilities allow them to directly support coalition forces by providing an airborne scout, increasing their situational awareness and in turn enhancing their capability to complete the mission. Because their career field is in high demand, linguists see a lot of deployment time, and not necessarily on a systematic basis. 

"We don't fit into a normal (Air Expeditionary Force) deployment cycle," he said. 

The linguists are enablers, and as such, they deploy more frequently and are away from home quite a bit, Chris said. 

Quite a bit may be considered an understatement. In his just five years of operational service, Chris has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, missing four of those five Christmases at home. This is no easy feat, but is particularly hard for someone who has been married his whole career. Together with his wife and son, they have endured deployment after deployment. 

"Being a husband and a father certainly adds to the layers of responsibility we shoulder in the deployed environment," Chris said. 

Through the challenges, however, his reward has been the many opportunities he has had including flying on board 10 distinctly different airframes, from the Rivet Joint to the Cessna 337 Sky Master Vietnam era relic. 

As a young Airman, Chris had many responsibilities, operating often with a small crew in remote areas throughout the AOR. He and his team were required to schedule their own sorties, maintain their own equipment and track their flight information as aviation resource managers were not available in many locations. The responsibility he and others carried, although sobering, brought with it a great sense of pride and accomplishment for he and his team, Chris said. 

Despite overwhelming responsibilities and a high operations tempo, the mission satisfaction and professionalism among the individuals with whom he worked made the time worthwhile, Chris said. 

With his experience, opportunities and background Chris would have the right to boast of his accomplishments and revel in his war stories. But not this guy -- apart from being exceptionally grateful for the opportunities he's had, he also is appreciative of those serving with him. 

"I am incredibly humbled at the opportunities I've had to serve my country and do it in a meaningful way," Chris said. "I've been even more humbled to have had the chance to work with a huge swath of members from other services, to see what they do, and to understand my place in the big picture." 

The satisfaction of participating in a mission that he understands and believes in, has kept him going, and not only that, it's kept U.S. and coalition war fighters on the ground going for five years and counting.

(Editor's note: Last names have been omitted to protect the operators.)

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.
comments powered by Disqus