From the Frontlines: Senior Airman Marita McCoy

Senior Airman Marita McCoy, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron in-bound cargo receiving clerk, operates a fork lift during her shift at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Oct. 1, 2012. McCoy was stationed at the 376th Logistics Readiness Squadron cargo movement as the weapons monitor from Jan. 11, 2012 to July 22, 2012, and dealt with all the weapons that came through the base (U.S. Air Force photo/Heidi Hunt) (Released)

Senior Airman Marita McCoy, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron in-bound cargo receiving clerk, operates a fork lift during her shift at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Oct. 1, 2012. McCoy was stationed at the 376th Logistics Readiness Squadron cargo movement as the weapons monitor from Jan. 11, 2012 to July 22, 2012, and dealt with all the weapons that came through the base (U.S. Air Force photo/Heidi Hunt) (Released)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Heading home after a deployment can be a strenuous task for Airmen, especially when dealing with shipping cargo and weapons back to their home station.

One Airman who helped redeploying Airmen get cargo home is Senior Airman Marita McCoy, 509th Logistics Readiness Squadron in-bound cargo receiving clerk, who recently returned to Whiteman after a six-month deployment.

McCoy was stationed at the 376th Logistics Readiness Squadron , Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. She served as weapons monitor from Jan. 11, 2012 to July 22, 2012, and dealt with all the weapons that came through the base.

"I worked in the deployment transit center, and packed and shipped weapons for people who were coming from downrange," said McCoy. "We accepted their weapons if they were going to Germany for their R&R."

McCoy inventoried, processed and was accountable for proper transportation of each service member's weapons returning from places within Southwest Asia.

She was also responsible for Third-Party-Turn-In, which are Joint Expeditionary Tasking Airmen weapons.

"We received a list of names of service members and I picked up the weapons, verified the serial number, did quality control and inspected the cases," McCoy said.

Some weapons McCoy handled were the M-4 Carbine, M-9 Pistol, M240 Machine Guns, 249 light machine and sniper rifles.

"Without me service members would not get their weapons delivered to their home station and would have to transport them back themselves," McCoy said.

A typical day for McCoy included 12- hour shifts, 7-days a week.

"In my spare time I volunteered with the Manas Area Benefit Outreach Society, and helped out the schools in Kyrgyzstan, delivering donated supplies and toys," McCoy said. "We also helped renovate the school building and improve the school's condition."

McCoy says her favorite part was working at the Women's Crisis Center and interacting as a mentor for abused women.

"We made every effort to help women get back on their feet," McCoy added. McCoy said the very best part of her deployment was getting to see her family and making new friends.

"I was fortunate to be there with my father, stepmother and 15-year-old brother who live Kyrgyzstan," the St. Louis native said. "My father is retired Air Force who now works there as an air traffic controller instructor and has lived there for more than eight years."

Although she said she was lucky to see members of her family, she missed her mother, Whiteman AFB and the mission here.

"Overall, I loved my first deployment and it opened up my eyes which further strengthened my appreciation of being an American," McCoy said.

Before she left for her deployment, McCoy worked at the 509th LRS cargo movement as the shipment planner, where she processed all the shipments that came through Whiteman AFB to get them out through FEDEX, UPS and freight customers.

"While deployed Senior Airman McCoy was missed," said Staff Sgt. Tarae Day, 509th LRS in-bound cargo supervisor. "She is a hard worker, cheerful and valued among her peers. McCoy is the type of Airman who is willing to lend a hand and step in where needed."