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Comm Airman 'rises to the challenge' downrange

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kate Wetherby
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Every day stories are heard from members returning from deployment, what they experienced and how it has changed them. We are told that job versatility is one of the keys to success in staying mission ready and being FIT TO FIGHT. For some, the reality of this is only realized when the challenge is put upon them.

Senior Airman Dale Richardson 43rd Communications Squadron cyber transport, recently returned from a deployment to Iraq, where he worked as a Network Administrator which was significantly different than his duties at Pope.

Network administration and network management are vastly different in terms of managing servers and software upgrades versus providing access to networks and maintaining the network equipment, said Airman Richardson. Network Management, also known as cyber transport, was Airman Richardson's job by trade and during his deployment he got to experience of both careers.

"While working at Pope I had a variety of jobs that were different," explained Airman Richardson. "Normally I work network management, but on this deployment I was dealing more with network administration and client systems issues.

"Even though I had to turn my focus to a different job, in the end it was a really good learning experience for me and my career," noted Airman Richardson. "Being able to get a feel for a different but similar career field allows me to bring something else to the shop by being able to work two different kinds of jobs and gaining job knowledge."

To keep busy during his down time, he participated in as many half-marathons and awareness runs as the base offered. This included a half marathon for Breast Cancer awareness, and a base five and 10k. According to the Joint Balad website, more than 500 service members and contractors took part in an Air Force half marathon.

"On my days off I wanted to do more than sit in my dorm room," said Airman Richardson. "The half-marathons were a great opportunity to accomplish a long time goal. I wanted to be involved in what was going on inside the base while making sure I was staying fit."

Airman Richardson's supervisor Staff Sgt. Joseph Gagin was not at all surprised to hear of his career accomplishments or his newly reached fitness goals. "Airman Richardson is always striving to be better, whether it be at Squadron PT or learning new things about his job," said Sergeant Gagin. "We are glad to have an essential part of our shop back."