The Valdosta Daily Times
By the time you're reading this, 300 airmen from the 75th Fighter Squadron and the 41st Rescue Squadron will be halfway around the world. They deployed Friday afternoon on a 20-hour trip that will end in Southeast Asia. Like all deployments, this one was a mix of veterans and rookies, of first-timers and six-timers.
Like 1st Lt. Trevor Martin and Staff Sgt. Mike Brooks. For Martin, a helicopter co-pilot, this will be his first deployment. For Brooks, his sixth.
“I'm not entirely sure what to expect,” said Martin. “But the more experienced guys have been talking to me.”
Almost every day overseas will find Martin flying in missions. And almost every day will find him studying as he takes online classes towards a master's degree in history. It's just one of a number of ways that technology has changed deployments.
“Back in 2006, communication was a phone card you used in a booth with 20-30 other people,” said Brooks. “Now, we have wi-fi and satellite phones.”
It's something that helps Brooks keep in touch with his wife and three sons, one of whom is just 3 months old.
Almost every day, he'll be able to keep in touch with them, through calls, through texts, through video.
“The technology takes away some of that distance.”
The 75th is part of the 23rd Wing, whose mission is to organize, train and employ combat-ready aircraft.
For the 41st members, they'll find themselves in combat search-and-rescue missions, pulling people out of harm's way.
For both, they filed into a plane Friday afternoon, carrying bags, running shoes, pillows, headphones, laptops and schoolbooks.
And while their missions might be a little different, they all have the same goal.
“It's the same every time,” said Jonathan Reichmann, one of the many on the plane. “We do the job right and come home.”