From the Frontlines: Staff Sgt. Blaine Caudill

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cody H. Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The Airman drops his bag in astonishment. Sand, a handful of tents and emptiness are the only things in sight.

This is his first deployment and one that will leave him with overwhelming admiration for the teamwork and coordination required of deployed Airmen and for the loyalty of the local communities.

He is Staff Sgt. Blaine Caudill, 509th Operations Support Squadron tower-watch supervisor and Air Force Global Strike Command member. Sergeant Caudill deployed from Whiteman April 25, 2010 for a bare-base in Southwest Asia, returning seven months later in November.

"I was one of the first people to arrive at the base," he said. "We had minimal facilities; basically a shower and tents."

Sergeant Caudill said any free-time was spent improving the base. Tents were assembled, including recreation and base-exchange tents, and he watched the gym grow from nothing to a fully-functional facility, during his time there.

"It's not often you get to witness a base being built around you," Sergeant Caudill said. "We went from less than 100 people when I got there to more than 700 people when I left."

Sergeant Caudill said it was a great experience seeing everyone come together and complete a team concept.

"Everyone worked an assortment of jobs," he added. "One day you might be working as a civil engineer after duty. It was sort of a jack-of-all-trades thing. Seeing the base built ground-up was an amazing experience."

His main mission while deployed was assisting the transportation of mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles to Afghanistan.

"I worked in the tower with the foreign controllers," he said. "I watched our traffic and theirs, ensuring our operations didn't affect theirs and vice-versa.

"Getting down their airfield standards and how they ran operations was one thing, but when it came to using their equipment it was a whole different side of the spectrum. When I got there it was like I traveled back in time."

Sergeant Caudill said he didn't know what to expect from his deployment, but he was impressed with the coordination between the Airmen and locals.

"We had great relations with the locals," he said. "I couldn't have asked for better assistance. They were out there to help us. They respected us and I respected them."
He said he received great gratification from helping the base get where it was when he left.

"I had a great time out there," he said. "You get so much satisfaction when you compare the base when you get there to how far it has come by the time you leave."