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From the Frontline: Master Sgt. Robert Weber

AFGHANISTAN -- Master Sgt. Robert Weber, Jr., Security Forces Platoon Sergeant, secures the Missouri Agriculture Development Team during his deployment. Sergeant Weber is a deployed  Air National Guard member from the 131st Bomb Wing.

AFGHANISTAN -- Master Sgt. Robert Weber, Jr., Security Forces Platoon Sergeant, secures the Missouri Agriculture Development Team during his deployment. Sergeant Weber is a deployed Air National Guard member from the 131st Bomb Wing.

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Master Sgt. Robert Weber, Jr., has been in the United States military for the past 33 years as a Marine, Soldier, and now a Warrior Airman. He has traveled the world to include countries from Saudi Arabia to Iceland to Guam.

Now, the 131st Bomb Wing Maintenance Control NCO in charge is currently deployed to Southwest Asia. He left May 22, 2010 for his year-long deployment as the Security Forces' Platoon Sergeant for the Missouri Nangarhar Agri-Business Development Team.

Sergeant Weber said his team consists of Airmen and Soldiers from the Army and Air National Guard around the state of Missouri. They are providing security to the agri-business team who coordinates and integrates agri-business capacity building activities into existing counterinsurgency operations in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan to legitimize the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

"Five to six days a week we run Ground Assault Convoys in Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to regions around Afghanistan," Sergeant Weber said. "Once we get them to their objective we set up a security bubble as the Agriculture Subject Matter Experts move about or have key leader engagements. When they finish, we load up and return to the forward operating base."

Sergeant Weber said there is a world of difference between his job as platoon sergeant and his maintenance control shop here. It took a lot of adjusting, but nothing this Lee Summit, Mo., native couldn't handle; he is familiar with change after his enlistment in the Marines, Army Reserve and, since 1987, the Air National Guard.

"The first thing I had to get used to was carrying a weapon at all times," said Sergeant Weber. "I learned how to be proficient with a variety of weapons; 249, 240B, M-2 and the MK-19.

"Driving 30,000 pound MRAP trucks and the tracking system also took some getting used to," he added.

Leading Soldiers and Airmen in a joint effort is also a new experience for Sergeant Weber. "I've been learning about the differences between the Army and Air Force and how we operate," he said.

He said scheduling his people for guard duty in the towers, sending people on leave and ensuring his platoon has the right amount of people at the right time is also a learning experience.

Sergeant Weber said joining the Guard and receiving opportunities like his current deployment was the best decision he's made in his life. His team of more than 60 people from across Missouri had never met before the drill prior to their deployment departure. He said the best part of his deployment has been, hands down, the people.

"We have come together as a team!" he exclaimed. "I have met some great people and great friends of whom I hope to stay in touch with once we return to the states."