Dispatch from Ali Base, 29 May 2009

This post is from Master Sgt. Russ Petcoff.  He’s an Airman deployed to the war and tells different stories from the desert. 


Memorial Day, May 25, did not go unnoticed on Ali Base, thanks to the hard work of Chief Master Sgt. Gerald Delebreau. He arranged a guards-of-honor vigil near the flagpole and Airmen’s Memorial in Bedrock.  


The vigil featured two Airmen pulling 10-minute shifts from 5 a.m. to midnight.  There were only two pauses, one at 3 p.m. for a moment of silence and another for the Ali Base first-ever Joint Service Retreat Ceremony. The chief worked more than 21 hours – through the scorching 108-degree heat and on his feet – to ensure a dignified remembrance for America’s servicemembers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. For Memorial Day 2009, Chief Delebreau embodied the second Air Force Core Value of Service Before Self! 


More than 220 Ali Base Airmen volunteered their time to stand vigil.  One Airman was Senior Master Sgt. Robert Clickener, (left) 407th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron.  Sergeant Clickener is deployed here from the 7th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and his hometown is Las Cruces, N.M.  


Airmen with the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron have been busy with construction projects around Ali Base and Contingency Operating Base Adder.  



Staff Sgt. Kenya Shiloh writes in her mission feature on the unit, “Since their arrive to Ali Base, the unit has been working on several projects. They are constructing a Regional Class IV yard for the 14th Engineer Battalion from Fort Lewis, Wash., and modifying a Forward Arming and Refueling Point for the base. Squadron members are also building a new tactical operations center (TOC) for the battalion. … Other projects the 557th ERHS is working on include a motor pool, and an Army and Air Force Exchange Services pre-engineered building.”



Ali Base photographer Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky shot an awesome photograph of Staff Sgt. Robert Calton, 557th ERHS, welding a doorframe (left). Sergeant Colton is deployed here from the 819th RED HORSE Squadron, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., and hails from Modesto, Calif.



The slang term “bird brain” generally means someone not very smart.  However, that is not indicative of some of the birds here.  Outside the group headquarters building is a latrine with an air conditioner.  On Saturday, May 23, the temperature soared to more than 120 degrees!  Everything sought cool air, including the birds.  They perched on the threshold to the latrine and enjoyed the cool air seeping out.