From the Frontlines: Senior Airman Ricky Mahaney

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cody H. Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
A 509th Force Support Squadron force management operations representative here left the comfort of his desk to face the challenge of the front lines of Southwest Asia, Feb. 22.

Senior Airman Ricky Mahaney said his deployment wasn't as much of a change as he expected, but the experiences he received there will never be forgotten.

Leaving Air Force Global Strike Command, he worked directly under the 609th Air and Space Command Center as a commander's support section staff member.

"I worked enlisted and officer performance reports and decorations," he said. "The difference was I worked directly for the commander there. I was basically his personal CSS member."

Airman Mahaney said his main deployed duties were similar to work here, but he had the opportunity to work hands-on. He built Individual Battle Armor kits and arranged T-walls, or concrete road blocks. He also painted squadron insignias on the walls which identified nearby buildings .

"I used my hands a lot. I had never built anything until this deployment," he said, describing the difference between his work here and while deployed. "I was outside a lot more than I am here and I got away from the normal personnel jobs that I do here."

"I put together 15 sets of IBAs for distinguished visitors," he said. "I also made the wooden crosses to put their gear and helmet on.

Lt. Gen. Mike Hostage, U.S. Air Force Central Command, Southwest Asia commander, coined Airman Mahaney for his work put toward building IBAs.

"Airman Mahaney being coined isn't suprising," said Senior Airman Lindsey Jaxel, FSS force management operations representative who was deployed with Airman Mahaney. "He's a hard worker with a positive attitude and deserves the recognition."

Using his hands was a new concept Airman Mahaney became accustom to. His deployment was also the first time he worked with the other military branches.

"I worked with the Marines, Navy and Army," Airman Mahaney said. "It was definitely a good experience to work in a joint environment."

Airman Mahaney had to work with Airmen in South Carolina to receive paperwork for EPR s and OPRs. He said the difference in time zones between the home station and his location gave him the opportunity to work on non-personnel related jobs.

"With my position, I had the luxury to do a variety of things," he said. "Since I was directly under the commander, I observed command meetings a few times a week. I sat amongst a handful of high ranking individuals along with important distinguished visitors, such as senators."

Along with visiting other bases on business, he said he was able to see the local downtown area; the malls, museums and castles.

"The most memorable part of the deployment was experiencing the culture and mingling with the local people," he added. "It was awesome. There is a big difference between our cultures, but it seems like it's becoming very westernized. Almost every local I met spoke English."

The area provided unique experiences for Airman Mahaney, but his family was still thousands of miles away.

"I missed my kids and wife. It's hard going without them for any amount time, and six months was difficult," he said. "I missed my son's second birthday, but thankfully I had the internet to stay in touch."

One hundred and seventy-eight days on the frontlines gave this Airman many opportunities and new experiences. He said he learned a lot in the short amount of time and looks forward to his next deployment.

"I've never experienced anything like it before," Airman Mahaney exclaimed. "When I get the opportunity, I'd like to go back."