Kuwait Deployment is Meaningful, Rewarding for Air Guard LRS Commander
By Staff Sgt. Michael Matkin, 161st Air Refueling Wing
/ Published September 23, 2010
Phoenix Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base -- Deployments can be both rewarding and challenging. They can also give servicemembers a sense accomplishment and pride at having served their country and their fellow servicemembers. Getting fallen warriors home to their families provided Lt. Col. Allen Kirksey, 161st Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, Phoenix, Ariz. just that.
Colonel Kirksey was mobilized and deployed for six months to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait as an Air Force Logistician assigned to the Central Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center Future Operations. Colonel Kirksey worked for the CDDOC Director, Air Force Major General Robert H. McMahon, and Future Operations Director, Colonel Dana Morel assisting in the direction of all Future Operations Division daily functions; synchronizing and optimizing effective use of strategic and theater multi-modal resources to maximize distribution, deployment, redeployment, sustainment logistics, and theater redistribution operations, and integrating and providing analysis and change management for CDDOC initiatives and courses of actions.
Towards the end of his tour, he was assigned to the CDDOC Current Operations, Requirements Cell (the heart of the CDDOC) where he led nine Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps servicemembers managing the full spectrum of intra-theater airlift. During his six months, he assisted in coordinating Logistics operations supporting Fallen Heroes, emergency airlift, airdrop, and resupply, and battle injury evacuation missions while also sustaining sorties delivering passengers and sustainment cargo to the warfighter, and as part of Tajikistan joint logistics humanitarian relief mission, worked with numerous partners to include Army Central Command, CDDOC, Air Mobility Division, and the U.S. embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, coordinated C-17 cargo aircraft flying to Kulob, Tajikistan, with a full load of tents, sanitation kits and other emergency supplies to support flood victims at the request of the government of Tajikistan.
Through his work in Kuwait, Colonel Kirksey was given multiple opportunities to help and serve, most notably while coordinating the movements of fallen warriors.
"Dealing with the [fallen warrior] movements was the most humbling and fulfilling part of my deployment," said Colonel Kirksey.
While coordinating the transportation of a fallen warrior, Colonel Kirksey encountered a unique opportunity to help fellow guardsmen from the Louisiana Army National Guard.
A member of the Louisiana Army National Guard Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment of Shreveport, La. was killed in action by an improvised explosive device in Southern Iraq.
"Lt. Col. Kirksey was one of the key players that assisted us [with the movement of one of our fallen warriors]," said Col. Johnny Ball, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander, Louisiana Army National Guard. "Without his help, we would not have been able to meet all of the requirements in such a short period of time. I appreciate Lt. Col. Kirksey's willingness to help us understand all of the requirements, getting us the forms we needed and showing us how to fill out the forms; all done around midnight as well. It's comforting to see that whether you're an Army or Air Guardsman, we continue to support one another."
Not only was the fallen warrior a fellow Guardsman, but there were also special circumstances around this case, said Colonel Kirksey. The fallen warrior's first cousin was also assigned to the same infantry unit and had requested to be the warrior's escort.
"We were able to coordinate our thoughts and get our ideas pulled together on this end while the unit members were trying to hold themselves together on their end; we really wanted to get this done in an efficient and dignified way," said Colonel Kirksey.
"It is really nice to know that the little things you do add up to something as meaningful and special as this," he added. "When it all boiled down it was an Arizona Guard guy helping a Louisiana Guard guy."