Airman makes most of deployment

332nd Air Expeditionary Wing
Story by Master Sgt. Benjamin Wilson

Date: 12.08.2016
Posted: 12.08.2016 10:43
News ID: 216838
Airman makes most of deployment

When the unit deployment manager asked for a volunteer to go on a seven-month deployment to Southwest Asia, Senior Airman Kaylee Pickerell didn’t hesitate to raise her hand.

“All they told me was, ‘would you like to go?’” she said. “I didn’t know if it was tomorrow or in three months. I just said yes.”

Pickerell, who is deployed as a 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron force protection escort, has held that same enthusiasm since leaving the 319th Medical Operations Squadron more than five months ago.

“She's killing it out here,” said Master Sgt. Steven Dale, 407th ECES first sergeant. “I'm definitely impressed with her maturity level and how well she balances her time.

“Best of all, she pushed me to get her enrolled into the U.S. Marine Corps' Corporals Course,” he added.

The U.S. Marine Corps’ Corporals Course is professional military education that all Marines must accomplish before being eligible to promote to the rank of sergeant. The course is comparable to the U.S. Air Force’s Airman Leadership School.

“The corporals course experience is something unique,” Pickerell said. “I come from a base where we only have Air Force, so my whole career I haven’t seen any other branches.”

Pickerell had the opportunity to study her sister service’s history and military traditions. According to Pickerell; however, the biggest challenge she faced was the amount of physical endurance required to excel in a Marine Corps training environment.

But her classmates helped push her through.

“They are yelling at me, “Come on, Pickles, get up here” and they are helping me push through – it just reminded me of being a team and working through things when they get tough,” she said.

When Pickerell, a native of Salem, Oregon, was not bettering herself through military education, she was excelling at her job.

“Airman Pickerell is one of those Airmen you can always count on,“ said Master Sgt. Anthony Molina, 407th ECES, escort program manager. “She is dedicated, adaptable, and always respectful.”

One of the duties at which Pickerell excelled is one for which most people would not want to volunteer. She led the escort team responsible for ensuring there has been no sensitive material discarded in the trash.

“I did for a long time and that’s the most exciting job in (force protection),” she said. “You find all kind of contraband.

“We jump up and as the trash truck is being lifted we search through the trash; and if we have to, we literally jump in the dumpsters to grab anything that is not supposed to be there in the first place.”

In addition to exceeding expectations on the job, Pickerell was involved in several community enhancement programs around base including, the Air Force Marathon, Airman’s Council, and Morale programs for fellow Airmen.

Her advice to other Airmen deploying for the first time is simple.

“Just embrace it,” she said.

“It has only been five months now, but it has been the best five months I’ve ever had. I love it. I would extend if I could.”