By Senior Airman Kaylee Clark
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Team Little Rock maintainers packed their bags and hugged their families goodbye one final time before deploying to support the Combat Airlift mission downrange. Approximately 90 members from the 19th Maintenance Squadron, 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron filled the passenger terminal waiting for their time to go downrange.
Mixed emotions of high-fives and well wishes, shared with tears and kisses filled the room.
As the deployers left their friends and families behind, the blue buses parked outside symbolized to the Airmen a ticket to support the mission, but to the family months of sadness.
Amber Doss, spouse of Staff Sgt. Chris Doss, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, said,“I will miss him a lot, but I feel safe knowing that the man who protects my heart is overseas protecting our family.”
Before heading out, leadership from the maintenance squadrons offered encouragement and support.
“I told them to do everything they do over there just like they would at home station,” said Capt. Kelly Collier, 19th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance operations officer. “We fight like we train.”
Collier explained that this is the last maintainer deployment rotation this year before Dyess maintainers take over the tasking.
“We, as Little Rock, will be deployed for a total of one year, we are simply changing out personnel after 6 months in the area of responsibility,” said Collier. “Swapping out our personnel allows us to get more maintainers experience in the deployed location and eases the burdens of deployments by sending two groups of personnel for six month rotations.”
“Most of them are excited, the toughest part of deploying is the transition,” said Senior Master Sgt. Shauna Raduske, 19th AMXS first sergeant.
Although, leaving friends and families weighed on the deployers mind, they focused on the task at hand; the mission downrange.