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Convoy work a different world for LRS Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mindy Bloem
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
When Airman 1st Class Brittany Goff, 43rd Logistics Readiness Squadron, joined the Air Force as part of her desire to explore the world, she probably didn't foresee that desire coming true quite so quickly. 

For the past seven months, Airman Goff has spent her days moving supplies around to different bases in order to do her part for the war effort. As the pacesetter for her detachment, she sets the speed for her entire convoy. 

Airman Goff's job here at Pope, which she will resume soon after returning from her first deployment Wednesday evening, is vastly different from her job overseas. Here she drives aircrews to and from their planes, recovers broken down vehicles, tours distinguished visitors around base and moves cargo all around base. 

Over there she was the head combat life saver and the convoy commander's driver. She delivers vital equipment to our frontline troops, services valuable vehicles and equipment, and performs numerous other duties to help support the global war on terrorism. 

"What makes it worth it to me is feeling like I've actually done something to help this war," Airman Goff said. 

Her job overseas was dangerous, but she said the more familiar she got with her job, the less nervous it made her. 

"At first, I was very scared of doing convoys," Airman Goff said. "I have heard so many stories. I was pretty much afraid of dying. Now, doing convoys is still scary, but at least I know what to expect." 

Knowing what to expect can be difficult. Her convoy was hit by improvised explosive devices, explosively formed projectiles and small arms fire. A person in her position can't always be prepared for what's coming. 

"Everyday is different and every convoy is different," she said. "The best way to prepare for a deployment is to just be as emotionally, physically and mentally prepared as possible."
When Airman Goff found out she was getting deployed, Master Sgt. Louis Pate, 43rd LRS vehicle operations supervisor, made himself available to answer many of Airman Goff's deployment questions as far as what to expect and what type of additional gear she would need. 

"My advice to her was to learn and perfect her combat convoy skills at BC3 and be ready to make adjustments as enemy tactics change," Sergeant Pate said. "Knowing the importance of the convoy mission, and having a direct hand in its planning, execution, and successful completion makes it worth it." 

As someone who has been deployed multiple times, Sergeant Pate knows what can be expected on a deployment. He offered this advice to those who are deploying for the first time. 

"Be prepared," he said. "Get answers for any questions from experienced co-workers and supervisors who have been on similar deployments, and to work hard to make a difference while deployed." 

Times are not always easy on deployments and military members must make sacrifices that the rest of us often take for granted. Things like not having to make a long trek just to get to the bathroom, like not having to sleep on a top bunk, like not having to work 12 hours a day, or perhaps the biggest one of all, not being able to spend time with your family and loved ones. 

"The worst part of a deployment has to be missing family and not being there for them," Sergeant Pate said. "The best part is being able to contribute to the operation. It's also nice to see old friends and meet the new troops in our career field." 

Sergeant Pate said it's also important to find opportunities to help pass the time.
"Most places have educational opportunities; there's the gym and Morale, Welfare and Recreation always has something for everyone," he said. 

What helped Airman Goff get through the hard times of a deployment is the support of her friends over there. 

"When I got in a slump, I just hung out with all the friends I've made there," she said. "They usually made me laugh if I'm down." 

Deployed members like Airman Goff find the bond a person forms with their team is indispensable. 

"Our team is very close," she said. "We share experiences with each other that you could never share with anyone else. We get along great but trust me we have our moments." 

We spend weeks on the road together. We see each other day in and day out. When something goes wrong it's your team members that help you. They are they for you no matter what." 

In reference to Airman Goff's deployment and all the men and women deployed at present, Sergeant Pate had this to say: 

"Every day our troops gear up, go outside the wire, and successfully complete the mission despite insurgents who use every opportunity to stop them. I am extremely proud of all of our troops."