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239th CBCS Airmen honored for deployed accomplishments

Brig. Gen. Craig McCord, JFMO Director of Joint Staff, congratulates Senior Airman Rita Wiley on her successful deployment to Afghanistan.

Brig. Gen. Craig McCord, JFMO Director of Joint Staff, congratulates Senior Airman Rita Wiley on her successful deployment to Afghanistan.

February 3, 2008 -- The 239th Combat Communications Squadron honored 33 members who recently returned from deployments in an Air Expeditionary Forces award ceremony on Lambert ANGB Jan. 13.

Maj. Gen. Steve McCamy, assistant adjutant general, presided over the ceremony and presented the awards to the airmen who dedicated their time to deploy in support of AEF 7 and 8.

More than 25 percent of the unit's airmen were recently tasked to deploy in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, becoming the unit's largest Global War on Terrorism deployment since 9/11. The unit's personnel were assigned to four different locations: Al Dhafra, UAE; Al Udeid AB, Qatar; Kandahar, Afghanistan and Kirkuk AB, Iraq.

"It was a great experience being deployed to a NATO installation, specifically an Australian camp," said Senior Airman Rita M. Wiley, "Being surrounded by other nations and working together to complete a mission and getting to know them as peers was amazing. We are not so different after
all."

Master Sgt. Edward Daly described his deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan, "You have the opportunity to see things that most people will never see. There is nothing in the world like it."

Senior Airman Christopher Blair added, "Deploying definitely changes your priorities and outlook on life. The entire experience is one I would do again."

Maj. Dean Benson, 239th CBCS Commander, expressed his thanks to 131st FW and 239th CBCS support personnel for helping getting the airmen 'trained, supplied and out the door'.

"Their efforts and hard work made the AEF predeployment, deployment and return phases a complete success," he added.

Airmen were deployed anywhere from 30 to 120 days. The last member returned in November 2007. The awards they received included the Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with gold border, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal.

"I can't tell you how proud of you I am and I'm proud to serve with you," concluded McCamy.

The Al Dhafra team included Senior Master Sgt. William Rauss, Master Sgt. Robin Campbell, Master Sgt. Christopher Keith, Master Sgt. Kevin Perkins, Tech Sgt. Bluitt Johnson, Tech. Sgt. Daryl White, Staff Sgt. Keith Albrecht, Staff Sgt. Daniel Elder, Staff Sgt. Richard Jones, Staff Sgt. Tabitha Jones, Staff Sgt. Russell Riis, Senior Airman Andrew Amiri and Senior Airman Ashley Drown.

The Al Udeid team included Capt. Jason Schneider, Master Sgt. Dionna Betts, Tech. Sgt. Gerald Blatt, Tech. Sgt. Willie May, Staff Sgt. Michael Cook, Staff Sgt. Timothy Loyd, Staff Sgt. Kenneth Parker, Staff Sgt. Ronald White, Senior Airman Thomas Karnes, Senior Airman Kasey O'Brien and Senior Airman Ryan Suther.

The Afghanistan team included Master Sgt. Edward Daly, Master Sgt. Michael McMullan, Tech. Sgt. Matthew Albrecht, Tech. Sgt. Timothy Holtzmann, Staff Sgt. Thomas Rickard, Senior Airman Christopher Blair and Senior Airman Rita Wiley.