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    Oklahoma Air Guardsman helps community, follows father’s footsteps

    Oklahoma Air Guardsman helps community, follows father’s footsteps

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Jordan Martin | Oklahoma Air National Guard Senior Airman Edward Zdeb, a member of the 138th...... read more read more

    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, UNITED STATES

    07.07.2020

    Story by Tech. Sgt. Kasey Phipps 

    Oklahoma National Guard

    Oklahoma Air Guardsman helps community, follows father’s footsteps

    Senior Airman Edward Zdeb, a member of the 138th Maintenance Squadron’s munitions flight, initially found both a solution for college and way to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the Air National Guard. Now, as one of the more than 300 Oklahoma Army and Air National Guardsmen activated as part of the state’s whole-of-government response to COVID-19, Zdeb is also able to directly serve within his community.

    “It's really nice,” Zdeb said. “You're actually able to serve the surrounding community, especially in this time of crisis right now.”

    As part of his activation, Zdeb joined other Oklahoma Air National Guard members from throughout the state to support the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.

    “It's really nice to see that there are actually huge facilities just for aiding the less fortunate and those who are struggling with jobs right now,” he said. “I had no idea that this existed, but it's been really nice to actually come out here and work and help with that, since a lot of people can't actually volunteer and work out here out of precautions.”

    Before this, Zdeb joined the 138th Fighter Wing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, right after high school in 2016.

    “At the time, I had no idea the Air Guard even existed,” he recalled. “You hear of the Army National Guard all the time, but my father was a Reservist and Guardsman for a little while and he told me about the Air side. I kind of already knew what job I wanted to do — munitions — because that's what my dad had done.”

    While waiting to be sent to training, Zdeb completed his fall and spring semesters toward his aviation management degree.

    “[I completed] all my training, which, one, helped pay for school,” he explained, mentioning not wanting to be in debt when he got out of school. “And two, will hopefully help me to get a job because I do want to make this a career after school. It allows me to go to school, and it also allows me to get my foot in the door to do my military career as well.”

    That military career has brought Zdeb some scary experiences that have made him appreciate his role during the current COVID-19 response all the more.

    “One of the scariest moments for me was going to Afghanistan four months after my on-the-job training,” he said. "Never thought I'd be doing that. But, here being activated, I'm closer to home. You know, I'm not homesick. I'm not worried about somebody lobbing mortar rounds at me the whole time. When you’re activated, you’re working here in your own community, and that’s the other side of what we do.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.07.2020
    Date Posted: 07.15.2020 14:10
    Story ID: 373467
    Location: OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, US 
    Hometown: TULSA, OK, US

    Podcast Hits: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN