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Trail Blazers deploy, have more family time

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MARCOA Media
Story by SSgt David Owsianka on 09/16/2019
Airmen from the 39th Airlift Squadron deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, and Djibouti, Africa, from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 9, as part of the first full squadron deployment for C-130J Super Hercules Airmen in over a decade.

"Having the whole squadron deploy at once is amazing because with how the previous deployment schedule worked, we would have approximately 30 percent of the squadron stay behind and have to complete 100 percent of the squadron's taskers," said Capt. Jeanluc Duckworth, 39th AS C-130J pilot. "While we are deployed, the other three operational squadrons, that are stateside, will complete other missions that arises while we are deployed."

This is the first deployment for the C-130J community to implement a new rotation cycle. It also helps balance the current deployment requirements with more time to focus on readiness and training for the future.

Airmen will deploy for a four month period and be at their home station for 12 months during the new deployment cycle.

"This is a better way for us to enable Airmen to focus on their families and it gives us more predictability for when someone will deploy," said Col. Jeffrey Menasco, 317th Airlift Wing commander. "The new rotation will allow our Airmen to have a longer amount of time to focus on our training for when we deploy."

During the deployment, the 39th will provide combat delivery capabilities through tactical airlift and airdrop operations, as well as humanitarian efforts and aeromedical evacuations in the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility.

"We complete a lot of home station drills prior to deployments to help us practice how we will complete our job while in Afghanistan," said Tech. Sgt. Matthew Tempest, 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion craftsman. "It will be amazing to see how the work we perform on the aircraft supports our flyers to be able to complete their tactical airlift missions."

As these Airmen support the U.S. military's mission on a global scale, they will continue to be ready to answer the nations call at a moment's notice.

"The Airmen who have joined want to be a part of something larger than themselves, and when they deploy, they get that feeling," Menasco said. "Airmen will realize that everything they've trained for culminates into that moment in time when they step on the ground in a foreign land to protect our nation's interests and our country."

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