War on Terrorism

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Face of Defense: Deployed Airman Lives by Core Values

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Stephen Hudson
169th Fighter Wing

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, June 28, 2012 – Just two months into her first deployment, Air Force Airman 1st Class Rhiannon O’Leary is staying busy. While working for the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron in line delivery for munitions, O’Leary is living the Air Force’s core values of integrity, excellence and service before self at work and off duty.

While her day-to-day mission is transporting munitions from the ammunition supply point to the flightline for loading, O’Leary has taken the opportunity to get involved in other activities.

On one of her first weekends, she visited the bazaar school here and spent the afternoon playing with the boys at the school.

“I love kids,” the mother of three said. “It was an experience, and puts things into perspective, because a soccer ball and a Frisbee to play with bring them so much joy.”

She added that she plans on visiting again during her four-month deployment. “I wish they lived in a better place,” O’Leary said. “But kids are kids anywhere you go.”

Volunteering at the bazaar is just one way O’Leary applies the Air Force core values. She also is working on becoming a victims’ advocate with the sexual assault response coordinator’s office, and recently took litter-carrying training at the aeromedical staging facility so she can help to carry wounded warriors to transport aircraft that take them to other medical facilities.

“Airman O’Leary has showed great leadership and a sense of urgency to get the job done,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Kenneth Prince, O’Leary’s supervisor here. “In this high-pressure job, it’s important to keep your military bearing. She exemplifies this every day.”

When O’Leary returns from her deployment, she said, she will return to school at Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, S.C., where she is studying criminal justice.

O’Leary is a member of the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th Fighter Wing from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. In April, the 169th Fighter Wing deployed more than a dozen F-16s and 400 personnel -- including pilots, maintenance specialists and support staff to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The wing deployed through August.

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