Sunday, August 19, 2007

Deployed Airmen dish up a helping of gratitude

8 Aug 07
by Staff Sgt. Cassandra Locke
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) - To show their appreciation for other's efforts and hard work, Airmen from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing have been volunteering to serve food to the operations personnel at the base's containerized deployable kitchen.

Chaplain (Capt.) Kevin Humphrey, 380th AEW chaplain has volunteered to serve food 10 times since he's been deployed here from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. "I used to work in food services before coming into the military and understand how difficult a job it is and how thankless, so I like to volunteer to let them know with my words and my actions that I genuinely appreciate what they bring to the fight," he said.

The chaplain's goal is to make the Airmen laugh. He will ask diners if they want "camel spider" or "deep fried dove" for their entree. "It is such a great way to quickly touch base with people and get a real pulse for the morale of the wing. I also enjoy trying to make them laugh and brightening their day." He said that little things like a smiling face and a bright attitude can have a tremendous impact on someone's day. Sometimes it seems people get so far removed from the direct mission of the wing; they forget what it is about, the chaplain said.

"All of us do our jobs to put planes in the air so we can put bombs on target or be the eyes in the sky; however, we forget when we do not venture over to the flightline what the true mission really is and we have a tendency to have a narrow perspective solely focused on what we do and not the mission as a whole," Chaplain Humphrey said.

For Staff Sgt. John Geer, 380th AEW chaplain assistant, deployed here from Seymour Johnson, he volunteers because he likes helping people and is concerned about the morale and well-being of the Airmen.

"This opportunity gave me chance to have fellowship with those I don't see as often as I would like," said Sergeant Geer. Prior to being a chaplain's assistant, he worked on the flightline with the B-52 Stratofortress. "I think it's important to serve over there because it shows appreciation and improves relations. Sometimes it is hard to get help for yourself with anything that may be going on in your life because you're concentrating on the mission and using the core value of service before self to stay late, skip meals, and so much more, that when someone can come out to you and lend a helping hand, and an open ear it means a lot," Sergeant Geer said. The chaplain staff also delivers popsicles on the flightline.

For Capt. Michelle McKinney, 380th AEW financial management, deployed here from Scott AFB, Ill., volunteering her time keeps her humble. "I think it's important to understand what some of the other career fields do on a daily basis, especially those that are often taken for granted," she said. Although Airmen here work long hours every day doing their respective operations and responsibilities, they are also taking the time to serve those who serve -- reiterating that Airmen can be wingmen at home and abroad.

Photo - Brig. Gen. Lawrence Wells, the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, dishes up a meal for a diner Aug. 7 at the containerized deployable kitchen. The general and members of his staff served food at the CDK all week to show their appreciation for the hard work and efforts put in on the operational side of base. Photo by Airman 1st Class Matthew Cook.

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