190th returns from second deployment
By Staff Sgt. Emily Alley, 190th ARW Public Affairs
/ Published January 27, 2010
FORBES FIELD ANGB, Topeka, Kan. --
Some unit members got to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Other members, like Major Chris Turner, got to spend it with their "Guard family."
"I was gone for Thanksgiving, some people were gone for Christmas," he described. "But it's nice to deploy with your own unit."
Turner was one of more than 150 Coyotes that recently returned from an Air Expeditionary Force deployment to Incirlik, Turkey. The 190th Air Refueling Wing refueled cargo aircraft, such as C-5s and C-17s, to limit the aircraft's time in theater. By refueling the aircraft on the flight in, it would only spend about 20 minutes on the ground to unload cargo. Since the mission is shorter, it reduces the chance of attack.
During the six-week deployment, the 190th flew 138 combat support sorties comprising 393 flying hours while offloading more than 12 million pounds of fuel. They did all of this while maintaining a 100 percent mission effectiveness.
"I was extremely proud of the spirit in which we accomplished our mission, especially since we were all away from our families for the holidays," said Lt. Col. Chris Gnagi, deployed commander.
It was the first deployment for Tech. Sgt. Levi Vincent. "In the Command Post, we don't deploy a lot," explained Vincent. "That's why this was a great opportunity."
He took advantage of the culture in the location as well by taking an MWR trip to historical and religious locations. His group toured ancient castles and Turkey's first Christian church and first Muslim mosque. He also enjoyed learning about the Turkish people.
Tech. Sgt. Justina Call, a flight manager, agreed, "When you walk into a shop, it's customary for them to offer you tea."
Although aerial refueling was the number one focus of the deployment, 190th members
were also active around the base throughout the deployment. Coyotes volunteered at the Incirlik Air Base Post Office during the holiday package surge, updated an antiquated computer business system at the Incirlik library, participated in the local Toys for Tots drive, refurbished six dune buggies for the base Outdoor Recreation organization and even won the local Ultimate Football tournament.
"In true Coyote style, the deployed members of the 190th gave their gift to Incirlik Air Base and left a tremendously positive mark through attitude, achievement, volunteerism and good will," said Gnagi.
Call appreciated the effort of 190th ARW leadership to include everyone on teambuilding trips and events and to make sure everyone felt included.
Although it was his first time to have the experience of deployment, Vincent had a unique perspective on the mission. He spent several years serving at Air Mobility Command headquarters.
"Our impact was invaluable to warriors on the ground," he explained.
Although there was an AEF cycle in place, Vincent has a different theory about why the 190th ARW was chosen for this important mission: "We're one of the best ANG units out there. I'm confident that's why."