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    Flight engineer reaches combat sortie milestone

    400 combat sorties reached

    Photo By Master Sgt. Joshua Garcia | U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mona Alexander, 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Joshua Garcia 

    380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

    UNDISCLOSED LOCATION - U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Fahey, 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron flight engineer, reached 400 combat sorties, June 14, 2013 - a milestone not easily achieved.

    Fahey accomplished this feat flying on two different aircraft platforms. He flew his 255th combat sortie on the KC-10 Extender in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, prior to this he was a flight engineer for the MH-53 Pavelow and accrued 145 combat missions in support of multiple operations across the are of responsibility. Fahey said he appreciates the opportunities he has had supporting two distinct missions

    "Flying on the Pavelows and being part of the Air Force Special Operations Command was the most challenging things I ever did in my life, their mission is so unique," said Fahey.

    Fahey continued to say, of the two missions, the KC-10 mission has been one of the most rewarding things he has ever done providing him with a different perspective on the Air Force and a chance to see the world.

    Flight engineers fly on average nine hours each mission, three to four times a week, monitoring every system on a KC-10 Extender. Fahey is an integral part of the four-man crew. Most of these crew members will only reach a few hundred combat sorties in their career. It is rare when someone reaches 400, only a handful of active-duty personnel today have reached this feat. As operators move up in rank it is typical to see them pulled from their operating duties and put in positions to lead the next generation of operators. Opportunities to fly are taken when they present themselves.

    Fahey is one of two people currently in the 908th EARS who have reached the milestone, he is the fourth flight engineer and the eighth member in the entire active KC-10 community to have accumulated over 400 combat sorties.

    "It is a significant achievement, one that symbolizes years of hard work, through multiple deployments and long periods of separation from family," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mona Alexander, 908th EARS commander. "Fahey has been flying for 13 years; he has more than 2000 hours of combat time in the KC-10 and a total of over 4200 hours flying in the MH-53 and KC-10."

    Supported by his squadron commander and unit, Fahey who is deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., is humbled by the experience and continues to strive.

    "This is so cool, it really is an awesome feeling hitting a milestone like this," said Fahey. "It makes me reflect back to all the missions I have flown, and gives me a feeling that I was part of something bigger than myself."

    Even with a decorative career, Fahey said he continues to look ahead. Although he hit 400 combat sorties he believes he can reach 500 if the circumstances are right. Fahey hopes that reaching this milestone will show younger airmen they can attain these goals in their career.

    "It is important to always stay mission ready, I was notified of this deployment a week and a half before I left," said Fahey. "You need to be resilient, deployments take their toll. By keeping a balance to my work and off-duty time, I am able to handle the stress that comes with flying so many missions."

    Always moving forward and thinking about the next generation of leaders, Fahey said he has entertained becoming a first sergeant.

    "Being a first sergeant is something I have wanted to do since I was an airman; I had a really good Shirt who had a big impact on me," said Fahey. "I would love to be able to give back and keep that tradition going."

    Fahey said that even though he has hit the 400 combat mission milestone, it is not due to his work alone but to the efforts of the entire unit.

    As a flight engineer, Fahey monitors the engines and other critical flight systems while the aircraft is in flight. Working alongside his pilots, Fahey ensures the aircraft is fully functional throughout missions. The engineer must have mechanical and technical knowledge on the aircraft systems to provide quick response fixes to any issues while in flight. This knowledge lets the engineer work closely with maintenance personnel, debriefing them on issues an aircraft might have had.

    "My crew has been awesome on this trip, they have made this deployment so easy to handle," said Fahey. "I have to give my praise to the aircraft maintainers. They are phenomenal; they provide outstanding support day-in and day-out, regardless of the difficult environment that they are challenged to work in."

    With options available Fahey approaches the remainder of his military career in the same manner he reached 400 combat sorties, humbled by the experience but a stepping stone to bigger goals.



    Date Taken: 06.14.2013
    Date Posted: 07.09.2013 02:03
    Story ID: 109867

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