News: Airman enlists father's help to improve KAF
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - It’s no secret, most airmen when they deploy want to leave their deployment location better than when they found it.
After months of research, design and preparation, a flagpole that was designed, built and shipped from New Jersey was erected at the CASF facilities here Aug. 1. Three days later, the first flag flew over the facility from sunrise to sunset. And upon the completion of retreat, the first flag folded in a triangular shape, with the union facing out, in line military tradition was set aside to be sent to the United States, to the man who made it possible.
In May, Staff Sgt. Kristy Wolfmayer, 651st EAES pharmacy technician deployed from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., arrived to the CASF to begin her six-month tour of duty. When she arrived, she noticed the colors flying above the CASF, in a less than honorable fashion.
“When I saw the flag, I was just amazed at how the flagpole was consistently falling over, leaning away from the vertical,” Wolfmayer said. “The pole was bent and was secured between two cement barriers with 550-cord. It was a creative way to temporarily display the nation’s colors, but we needed something more, especially for those who come through here.”
Wolfmayer said that the number of 9-lines, or emergency areomedical evacuation calls, that come in and out of the CASF bring with them soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have been wounded or injured on the battlefield requiring medical attention. Patients injured or wounded from a forward operating base, combat outpost or even more remote locations, are brought to Kandahar Airfield by helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft to receive medical aid. KAF is home to the Role 3 medical facility, the second largest hospital in Afghanistan.
“For many, the flag is the first thing they see as they depart the helicopter and proceed to the ambulance,” Wolfmayer said. “I felt as though the patients needed to see the flag, and a strong sturdy flagpole; a true symbol for them to look up to and remind them that their country is behind them 100 percent and we support them.”
Within a week of her arrival to Kandahar Airfield, she began to think of how her and her wingmen could improve the existing structure. Fortunately, Wolfmayer had the perfect resource to aid her, and she made the phone call back home.
She called her father, John Wolfmayer, a glazier out of Califon, N.J. A glazier is a person who installs commercial glass into large scale buildings. John got to work and did some research. Before long, he came up with a design and started fabricating a new flagpole.
“After he came up with a design, he had a two week delay before fabrication could begin due to his job requirements,” said Sgt. Wolfmayer. “But then he built it in a weekend and posted a picture of it on my Facebook page. I couldn’t believe it. It was taller than his two story house.”
John then disassembled the flagpole into six-foot pieces, packaged them up and mailed them out before arriving in June. Then Sgt. Wolfmayer and her team obtained a permit to dig an appropriate sized hole in which to secure the base. Once the permit was received, they enlisted the help of Airman 1st Class Allen Holder, 451st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, volunteered his time and brought over an auger drill to help make way for the new flagpole.
On Aug. 1 Wolfmayer and her team assembled the pole and readied it for its first flag to fly.
“It’s really inspiring for me as to see my airmen have so much pride in their mission, their unit, their Air Force and their country,” said Col. Elizabeth Harrell, 651st EAES commander. “To know that Kristy did all of this with work to get the flagpole made and shipped here, Holder dedicated his time to providing a secure foundation and the rest of the unit pitched in to help assemble and raise the flagpole … it’s just amazing.”
For Wolfmayer, the completion of the project cements her commitment to her mission.
“This event was significant because it was a project that I had worked on since my arrival,” Wolfmayer said. “It connected people from the states to KAF. Dedicating it and having a ceremony made it more symbolic than just installing the pole. Having a formal retreat ceremony with numerous members from the squadron as well as the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Command Chief (Chief Master Sgt. David Brinkley) made it a special time to not only appreciate the pole, but my father, his donation and also pay respect to the flag. It reaffirms the reasons we are here.”
Date Posted:08.11.2012 09:14
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