News>Two Kandahar Airmen receive Thanksgiving phone calls from President Obama
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Steven Taylor, an MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator with the 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, receives a Thanksgiving-day phone call from President Barack Obama Nov. 22, 2012. Taylor, from Sherman, Texas, said the president asked him about his family and how he was coping with his first deployment. “It’s a humbling experience more than anything, just to talk to the president as a regular person, and talk about stuff that you’re into, and your family,” he said. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Stephanie Wade)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Khalid O'Neil, 451st Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, receives a Thanksgiving-day phone call from President Barack Obama Nov. 22, 2012. The Commander-in-Chief thanked O'Neil for his service and asked him about his experiences while deployed to KAF. O’Neil, from Trenton, N.J., is a St. Louis Rams fan and also talked about football with the president. "That was a pretty cool experience," O'Neil said. "He sounded just like he did on TV. It's not something I will forget, that's for sure." (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Russell Martin)
by Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
11/26/2012 - KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- Two Airmen deployed here received Thanksgiving-day phone calls from President Barack Obama Thanksgiving evening Nov. 22, 2012.
Senior Airman Khalid O'Neil, 451st Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, and Airman 1st Class Steve Taylor, 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, each talked to the president for about five minutes.
"He spoke a little bit about the mission, and he definitely wanted to give everyone kudos for the work we're doing here," said Taylor, an MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator. "He said he's real proud of us."
Taylor, originally from Sherman, Texas, is deployed from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., and has been in the Air Force almost two years. This is his first deployment, and he's been at KAF nearly two months. Taylor has quickly established himself as one of his squadron's top performers, prompting his supervisors to nominate him to receive the call.
"It's a humbling experience more than anything, just to talk to the president as a regular person, and talk about stuff that you're into, and your family," Taylor said. "It was more 'Barack' rather than 'Mr. President.'"
Taylor is a Dallas Cowboys fan, and the two talked a little about sports, he said.
O'Neil, a Security Forces Airman originally from Trenton, N.J., and deployed from Moody AFB, Ga., is a St. Louis Rams fan and also talked football with the president.
Obama, a Chicago Bears fan, tried to coax O'Neil into switching allegiances. O'Neil jokingly said he may instead consider becoming a fan of the Green Bay Packers, the rival of the president's team. The remark ignited cheers and laughter from the crowd of Airmen who had gathered to listen to the exchange.
O'Neil is a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle, or MRAP, driver. He is part of a 15-person Tactical Security Element that conducts counter-threat operations for KAF. Wing leadership nominated him to receive a call from the president due to his can-do attitude and ability to accomplish the mission under extreme and stressful conditions.
In their short conversation, the president asked about his family and how he was coping with his first deployment.
"That was a pretty cool experience," O'Neil said. "He sounded just like he did on TV. It's not something I will forget, that's for sure."
12/6/2012 9:40:15 AM ET Just as a reminder para cord bracelets are not authorized. The pic of the SrA Oneil shows him wearing one. Make a watch band in an authorized color if you must but a bracelet is prohibited. As far as his beard goes I don't know if he has a shaving waver or is allowed relaxed grooming standards so I won't comment other than to say that he keeps his hair shorter than facial hair and that looks odd.As a leader submitting someone for an award or special recognition please prep your subordinates accordingly because you are placing them in a spotlight. This may have been the first day he wore that bracelet and who knows about the beard so no need to comment with out the facts but my point is putting people in spotlights opens them up for scrutiny. So make sure they squared away
12/3/2012 4:18:08 AM ET It's good to see that POTUS takes a minute to talk to people on the bottom of the totem pole. Whether or not one agrees with his views that's one thing I like to see. Agreed though Tony take a chill pill and your represent 'Murica really well with your lack of punctuation.
12/2/2012 11:22:10 PM ET The POTUS doesn't randomly call bases like Crank Yankers... these Airmen were nominated by their respective commands for this. The point of the story is to recogize these Airmen for their hard work and dedication. It seemed to have a positive impact on these Airmen from their comments. That's a good thing. That's the point. I'm sure Capt. Tristan Hinderliter got paid on the 1st of the month to write this story as well. Is that okay with you Tony
SF Leader, USAFE
11/30/2012 1:19:07 PM ET Sweet beard in the 2nd photo
11/28/2012 11:03:36 AM ET Tony angry much You and the rest of 'MURICA might need some chill pills.
11/28/2012 4:03:35 AM ET So the POTUS just randomly calls bases like he's one of the guys from Crank Yankers. Was there a point to this story Was the point that the President might just randomly call any office in the U.S. Military to shoot the poop for 10 minutes Is this really a story Do people get paid to write this