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MSS deploys to Southwest Asia

Senior Airman Helen Dickinson, a Reservist with the 446th Mission Support Squadron, is deployed to Southwest Asia with the 379th Exepditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron. She porvides briefings on standing orders and ground rules for servicemembers entering and leaving Iraq and Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Anne Knabe)

Senior Airman Helen Dickinson, a Reservist with the 446th Mission Support Squadron, is deployed to Southwest Asia with the 379th Exepditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron. She porvides briefings on standing orders and ground rules for servicemembers entering and leaving Iraq and Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. Anne Knabe)

MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Five members of the 446th Mission Support Squadron deployed to Southwest Asia Dec. 25 in support of the Global War on Terrorism. 

The deployment is to support the Air Expeditionary Force and will include two more MSS Reservists in the following months. All of the people who deployed from MSS volunteered to do so, said Chief Master Sgt. Janice Kallinen. 

A Reservist from the Information Systems Flight, Senior Airman Helen Dickinson, is providing briefings to servicemembers enter-ing and leaving Southwest Asia. The briefings are to inform people from all branches of service about the standing orders and ground rules while inside Iraq and Afghanistan, said Senior Master Sgt. Tom Henry, Airman Dickinson’s supervisor at McChord. 

“I work 12s and have to make sure everyone on every flight who comes in has the correct information for their temporary stay until they move onward,” Airman Dickinson said. “It’s a huge responsibility considering a plane could land with 100 people on it and right in the middle of the briefing two more planes with just as many folks could come in.” 

Reservists currently deployed are from the Military Personnel Flight, along with Airman Dickinson from the Information System Flight. The primary duty of the MPF people is to track incoming servicemembers for accountability, as well as to do casualty report-ing. Additionally, they will do re-enlistment paperwork for anyone who chooses to re-enlist while deployed. 

Of the Reservists who deployed from MPF, three are Air Reserve Technicians, Reservists who work at the MPF as civilians during the week, she said. 

“We have 12 ARTs here normally, so we just lost 25 percent of our workforce,” she continued. “If units could be patient with us, that would be great.” 

While serving at McChord with its high operations tempo can be busy, serving in Iraq is even busier. Though the work is hard and the hours long, Airman Dickinson maintains an unshakable positive attitude. 

“If I had to narrow down the main reason why I love it here, it is because of all the new people I get to meet,” she said. “One night I’ll hang out with the Brits, the next night I’m playing cards with the Aussies. And just to go back home to say you’ve seen the stars in the sky on the opposite side of the world is something no one can take away from you."