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Air Guardsman leads Agri-Business Development Team for the first time in Missouri National Guard ADT history

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- For the first time in the four years of the Missouri National Guard Agri-Business Development Team's history, the team's senior enlisted advisor is a member of the Air National Guard.

Senior Master Sergeant Jerry Blankenship has been in the MONG for 25 years and when his active duty and Air Reserve time are included, he has served a total of 32 years. He is currently a traditional guardsman assigned to the 131st Bomb Wing, Whiteman AFB and Lambert-Saint Louis Air National Guard Base, as a Weapons Safety Manager.

This is Blankenship's fourth deployment. He previously served twice at Balad in Iraq and later in Kandahar in Afghanistan. At Balad, he was a Weapon's Safety Manager on his first tour and Chief of the Munitions Storage Area on his second rotation. He also served as a Weapon's Safety Manager in Kandahar.

"I think this will be a very interesting deployment." Blankenship said, "I like seeing the Army and Air Force working together. I think the Airmen are more challenged in this joint environment than the Soldiers because this is primarily an Army deployment. The Airmen have to learn to adapt to the Army standards. We are more free to make independent decisions in the Air Force, and the Army is more regimented. But I am very optimistic about our team and have high expectations of all our Airmen and Soldiers."

Blankenship has challenged everyone to set a goal to accomplish during this deployment; take a class, learn a language, anything to stay focused on and make the time pass as well as having something to show for the time spent here. His personal goal is to score a perfect 300 on the Army physical fitness test.