From the Frontlines: Tech. Sgt. Jennifer McKeithan

  • Published
  • By Heidi Hunt
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The military makes every effort to boost morale among servicemembers home and abroad. Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs provide a significant stress relief to deployed individuals who are away from their families for long periods of time.

Tech. Sgt. Jennifer McKeithan, 509th Force Support Squadron, NCO in charge of readiness, served as the recreation flight chief and spent 120-days deployed to the 407th Air Expeditionary Force Support Squadron, Ali Base, Iraq, and returned October 2009.

Sergeant McKeithan said the mission was to provide Airmen with activities while they were off duty.

"I was in charge of all recreational programs and special events to include joint ventures with our sister service, the Army," said the Air Force Global Strike Command sergeant.
"My staff hosted three to four events a day to provide an outlet for all Airmen.

"This helps to alleviate home sickness and also allows Airmen to meet in common areas, build friendships and network," Sergeant McKeithan said.

During her deployment, Sergeant McKeithan said her day-to-day operations were many.

"Each morning I ensured accountability paperwork was complete and verified cash deposits were accurate and maintained a self-help storeroom," she said. "A large amount of my time was spent brainstorming events with my staff."

"Additionally, we hosted a number of activities such as horseshoe tournaments in conjunction with spades tournaments with the end goal of getting as many people out of their rooms as possible," she said. "Besides the endless paperwork and time spent organizing, coordinating and advertising, I ensured my staff was taken care of to the best of my ability.

Sergeant McKeithan said taking care of her Airmen is one of the trickiest tasks but is one of the most important duties.

Overall the sergeant said the best part about her deployment was the people because they helped her though it.

"I've made everlasting memories that I'll always be able to reflect on," she said. "I worked with and for an amazing group of individuals. There might not have been a smile at the end of every day, but in the end it's an experience we'll never forget and friendships that may not have been formed if not for the deployment."

Here at Whiteman, Sergeant McKeithan's services were commended by her supervisor, Capt. John Frazier, 509th Bomb Wing chief readiness and plans.

"Sergeant McKeithan has the uncanny ability to motivate the Airmen she works with and truly embraces the Force Support community's primary mission of taking care of people," he said.

While Sergeant McKeithan's deployment was notable she said she missed her family and friends.

"Going overseas helps you to appreciate how fortunate we are in the U.S. and these experiences help remind me of why we are there and the circumstances Americans would never want our country to experience," she said. "I enjoyed the mission and would deploy again in a heartbeat."