War on Terrorism

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Deployed reservists talk war, baseball with congresswoman

by Technical Sgt. Emily F. Alley
442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/20/2014 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- It was almost midnight Aug. 19 in Bagram when a room full of deployed Airman from the 442nd Fighter Wing took a phone call from Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler.

Lt. Col. Bryan Stone, 303rd Air Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, casually mentioned at the start of the conversation the airfield had been attacked 64 times since they arrived in April. By the end of the phone call, that number was 65.

In addition to discussing the impact the deployed reservists have made in Afghanistan, Stone also suggested to the congresswoman that their deployment has had a positive impact on the Kansas City Royals baseball team.

"As luck would have it, as long as we have been gone the Royals have done well!" he joked.

Hartzler, who represents the geographic district surrounding Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri's fourth congressional district, and who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, praised the deployed reservists and asked questions about the wing's continued mission in Afghanistan.

"We have quite a few Hogs in the air," said Chief Master Sgt. Russell Robinson, another deployed 442nd member, as he briefed the congresswoman on their flying tempo and the bullet holes they've found in aircraft after missions.

The crews have maintained one of the most intense deployed flight schedules in Air Force Reserve history.

"You've been asked to do more than most reservists in the past," Hartzler said. "But there's no other airplane the guys on the ground want to see more coming over the horizon."

She ended the phone call by asking about the deployed Airmen's families - and the six newborn babies who have been born back home during the deployment. Those present in the room in Bagram assured her they were ready to come home to Missouri.

"You're so important to the guys on the ground. You're saving lives," concluded the congresswoman as she said goodbye. "But I'm sure the time will fly by. No pun intended."

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