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Bold Tigers bid farewell to Bagram PDF Print E-mail
on Thursday, 31 May 2007

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Published in : , Latest News

by Staff Sgt. Craig Seals
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

5/24/2007 - BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (ACCNS) -- The 391st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron holds the distinction of being the first sustained F-15E mission assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing here at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.

Combine that with the fact that the 391st EFS also accomplished more than 1,000 combat sorties during their time here, and the Airmen assigned to the Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, unit definitely have something to be proud of.

Staff Sgt. Brian Goodman, 391st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, was proud of the work he had accomplished during his months at Bagram.

"This was my first trip to a forward operating base in this area of the AOR and I really enjoyed putting these aircraft in the air for close air support," Sergeant Goodman said.
Getting the aircraft in the air wasn't as much of a challenge as some of the other situations Sergeant Goodman faced. "The environment here is pretty much the same as Mountain Home, high mountains with desert plains, so that wasn't much of an issue," he said. "We did have a pretty huge buzzard get sucked up by one of the engines, so that was different."

Small differences aside, the Airmen performed well above their leadership's expectations, according to Chief Master Sgt. Joe Livingston.

"When we got out here, this place wasn't set up for our F-15s. We just had the one clamshell tent over here," Chief Livingston said. "Between the Red Horse folks and our maintainers, we now have hardened, fully-functioning buildings."

Those buildings provided the workplace for these maintainers to excel at what they do best.

Tech. Sgt. Bradley Clark, 391st EAMU weapons expediter, was amazed at the level of expertise his Airmen demonstrated.

"Our guys here really stepped up to the challenge. The experience we've gained in just a few months here would have take almost 3 years to gain back home," said Sergeant Clark. "Working hand in hand with the other services and seeing how we really all do the same thing has been a learning experience for me."

While the maintainers lube the joints, change the tires, service the fluids and launch the aircraft, the pilots are the ones who fly the combat sorties. No pilot could be more proud of that fact than the 391st EFS commander, Lt. Col. Brian Kirkwood.

"This has been such a great opportunity for this squadron. To be the first sustained F-15 mission here has been such a positive experience for us," said Col. Kirkwood. "These guys have been so outstanding that we were able to fly our sorties within 36 hours of our initial arrival."

Taking over a mission from a different aircraft while being the first of your kind at a new wing could be an overwhelming task for some, but not for Lt. Col. Kirkwood and his 391st. "When you start off clean, like we did, it can be daunting, but no matter where you work, once you get going you really see how rewarding it can be." 

"This is my second AEF deployment as a commander and I can see no better way to close it out than with these folks."

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Last update: Thursday, 31 May 2007

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