From the Frontlines: Airman 1st Class Eric Reed

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo -- When one hears "deployment," a person may typically think of Airmen performing convoy duty, carrying an M-16 and providing direct mission support on the frontlines.

Airman 1st Class Eric Reed, 509th Communications Squadron, was not on a typical deployment.

Airman Reed worked as assistant and computer system administrator for Maj. Gen. Charles Cleveland, Special Operations Command Central commander, and Col. Kevin Gordey, Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command deputy commander.

"There were a lot of long days working 16 hours at a time," Airman Reed said. "Most of what I did for General Cleveland was classified. Basically I made sure he had what he needed when he needed it.

General Cleveland authorized the rescue of hostages from pirates by the U.S. Navy SEAL Team in April 2009.

"Colonel Gordey was also great to work with," Airman Reed said. "One of the best things he did was sit down with each person and explain to them why their job was important and answer any questions they had. He also took great care of the troops and did what he could to keep moral up and foster teamwork."

Colonel Gordey was responsible for all missions in Southwest Asia and supported other missions throughout the area of responsibility.

"I learned a lot working with General Cleveland and Colonel Gordey," Airman Reed said. "They were both very positive influences and provided challenges to me that broadened my experience both personally and professionally."

Airman Reed also spoke highly of his deployment and encourages others embrace the opportunity.

"If you have not deployed overseas yet, take the opportunity when it arises," he said. "You get to see the big picture downrange and how important every job is to the mission. You also can learn a lot from the local people and about their culture."