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    Loved ones bid farewell to Oklahoma aviation battalion

    Loved ones bid farewell to Oklahoma aviation battalion

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Eric McDonough | Spc. Richard Akins, of Maysville, Oklahoma, a CH-47 Chinook mechanic with 2nd General...... read more read more

    LEXINGTON, OK, UNITED STATES

    02.05.2017

    Story by Staff Sgt. Eric McDonough 

    145th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   

    LEXINGTON, Okla. – Family and friends gathered with nearly 100 Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen from 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB), 149th Aviation Regiment, for a departure ceremony at the Muldrow Army Heliport in Lexington, Oklahoma, Sunday.

    The GSAB is deploying three companies to the Middle East. They are comprised of aviators, maintainers and fuel technicians for CH-47 Chinook helicopters in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield. Having completed pre-mobilization training at Camp Gruber Training Center near Braggs, Oklahoma, the GSAB will move out to Fort Hood, Texas, for additional training before heading overseas.

    One of the ceremony's speakers, Brig. Gen. Michael Thompson, assistant adjutant general for Oklahoma, expressed his personal view of Guardsmen and their sacrifices.

    “I see brothers and sisters,” Thompson said. “I see students and police officers; farmers and everyday workers in Oklahoma. You put all that aside when our country calls. You make incredible sacrifices for the safety of this country.”

    Deploying Guardsmen represent a wide range of ages and experience levels, from the newest private to the seasoned veteran; all of which are brothers and sisters-in-arms, relying on each other for support.

    Two of the deploying GSAB Guardsmen, however, are actually related.

    Master Sgt. Robert Calvert, a senior aircraft maintenance sergeant from Norman, Oklahoma, and his son Sgt. William Calvert, an aircraft maintenance sergeant from Moore, Oklahoma, will experience the same deployment from very different points of view.

    “To me, it’s not anything different or new," Robert said. "I’ve deployed three times. It’s just another year away, but it’s what we do.”

    For William, the experience will be quite different.

    “I’m really looking forward to my first deployment and all the experiences I will get from it,” William said. “I’ve never been outside the United States, so this is going to be totally out of my comfort level.”

    Robert is the acting first sergeant for the maintenance company responsible for the care of the unit’s Chinooks. He will lead more than 50 support personnel in maintaining the aircraft, relying on lessons learned from a 33-year career.

    With four years of military service, William is by no means inexperienced with the massive aircraft he maintains. As a maintenance sergeant, he will supervise a portion of the support personnel his father leads.

    Chinooks are one of the most flexible heavy-lift vehicles in the U.S. Army with a maximum lift capability of 26,000 pounds and a maximum range exceeding 400 miles. The capabilities of the Chinooks make it a highly utilized aircraft for a variety of missions.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.05.2017
    Date Posted: 02.06.2017 10:44
    Story ID: 222576
    Location: LEXINGTON, OK, US
    Hometown: MOORE, OK, US
    Hometown: NORMAN, OK, US

    Web Views: 152
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN