Whiteman Airman attributes success to leadership, family

Senior Airman Steven Edwards, 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron metals technician, operates a lathe at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Oct. 20, 2009. Edwards is deployed from the 509th Maintenance Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and hails from Charleston, S.C.

Senior Airman Steven Edwards, 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron metals technician, operates a lathe at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia Oct. 20, 2009. Edwards is deployed from the 509th Maintenance Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and hails from Charleston, S.C.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy, is briefed by Senior Airman Steven Edwards, 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron metals technician journeyman, on the combat metals shop during a visit to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia recently. Airman Edwards is deployed from the 509th Maintenance Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and hails from Charleston, S.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tony Tolley)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy, is briefed by Senior Airman Steven Edwards, 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron metals technician journeyman, on the combat metals shop during a visit to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing at an undisclosed location in Southwest Asia recently. Airman Edwards is deployed from the 509th Maintenance Squadron, Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and hails from Charleston, S.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Tony Tolley)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- Editor's note: "From the Frontline" is a weekly column highlighting currently deployed Team Whiteman members, or those who have recently returned from deployment. This week's deployed member is Senior Airman Steven Edwards.

Whiteman Airman Steven Edwards is currently deployed to the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron in Southwest Asia, in the metals technology shop, keeping a fleet of C-130s in the air.

"What an experience it has been over here for me," said Airman Edwards. "While deployed, I get to see the direct impact my involvement has on the mission. I never got to see the direct impact, how the planes we repair are hauling supplies and troops throughout the AOR, until I got to the frontline."

The Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy, recently saw the impact the squadron was making on a visit to the area of responsibility Dec. 2.

"CMSAF Roy visited some of the bases in the AOR to see how we operate everything with precision and effectiveness," said Airman Edwards. "I gave him a briefing on some of the major repairs that our combat metals shop has done since being deployed here."

Some of those repairs weren't as easy to accomplish without the vast array of tools and machinery that the metals techs have at home.

"Our career field uses a lot of big, complicated, and expensive computer programmed and controlled machines and tooling," said Airman Edwards. "We've had a few tough jobs come through that would have been much quicker and easier to complete with the machines we have back at Whiteman.  But, we got it done, working with what we have over here."

But there's more to Whiteman to miss than the machinery and tooling.

"To all of the guys back in the metals tech. shop back at Whiteman, I would like to say thanks for preparing me well past what I needed for a deployment and teaching me that attitude reflects leadership."

Airman Edwards attributes his successful deployment not only to his shop, but his family too.

"I would like to send my love to my wife, Melissa," said Airman Edwards. "Without her running things as well as she does back home, I couldn't be as effective here as I can be. To my kids, Kylie and Peyton, I love you and miss you and Daddy will be home soon."