Misawa readies for upcoming AEF

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Brad Sprague
  • 35th Fighter Wing public affairs
With more than 1,000 Airmen postured for the upcoming Air Expeditionary Force cycle, and the 13th Fighter Squadron set to rotate with the 14th Fighter Squadron, Misawa Air Base is in the fight on the War on Terrorism.

"It's a significant deployment," said 1st Lt. Christine Kiernan-Ortiz, officer in charge of plans at the 35th Fighter Wing's Installation Deployment Readiness Center. "The biggest thing we do is coordinate with each squadron's unit deployment manager and try to get everybody on the same page."

According to the lieutenant, getting everybody on the same page includes preparing those deploying so they know what to expect, and getting everyone on their way.

"Our guys have to coordinate with all the different agencies and units on base--it's a huge job," said the lieutenant.

Not only will Misawa's finest depart from here, so will many others throughout the Pacific. Lieutenant Kiernan-Ortiz said that Misawa Air Base is the aggregate, or collection point, for all of PACAF. What that means is nearly everyone deploying from PACAF will pass through Misawa before heading to their deployment locations.

"We're going to have a lot of folks coming up here," Lieutenant Kiernan-Ortiz said.
According to the way the personnel postured to deploy is set up here, the majority deploying are from the maintenance group and mission support group; but with nearly one-third of the Airmen postured, nearly every squadron will be sending personnel.

"Counting my training and AEF, I'll be gone for about eight months," said Tech. Sgt. Ann Schenck, 35th Fighter Wing Security Forces NCO in charge of plans and programs. "I'm excited because I get to do something I don't normally get to do in the SFS career field," said the sergeant. "My job will be detainee ops, securing and safeguarding personnel."

Sergeant Schenck said being single doesn't make it easier to leave. "I have to find someone to water my plants and take care of my puppy. I have had a lot of support from friends and the squadron, and would like to say 'thank you' for all the help they provided."

Another Airman postured for the upcoming AEF prepares for his deployment. "I'm proud to be going," said Tech. Sgt. Wesley Walker, 35th Fighter Wing judge advocate office, paralegal and NCO in charge of civil law. As part of his pre-deployment training, Sergeant Walker took part in a two-week advanced combat skills training course in Fort Dix, N.J. The advanced course included role-playing, improvised explosive device and convoy training.

"I'll be working with detainees," Sergeant Walker said. "If we can keep a bad guy off the streets and in jail ... that's one less person that threatens our brothers and sisters."

The majority of personnel set to deploy from Misawa Air Base will be departing in early May.