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From the Frontlines: Tech. Sgt. Jason McCarty

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Bryan Crane
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
After 14 years and four overseas tours as an Air Force firefighter, Tech. Sgt. Jason McCarty, 509th Civil Engineer Squadron structural craftsman, deployed in 2012 for the first time as a structures shop member.

McCarty deployed to Afghanistan from July 2012 through February 2013, and was stationed at more than one base.

"I was privileged to visit multiple places on my deployment," McCarty said. "I was at Kandahar and Bagram, as well as four forward operating bases in the area."

McCarty had the opportunity to work for three months on a FOB expansion job.

"Working on the FOB was one of the best parts of my deployment," McCarty said. "We had a team of 42 Air Force civil engineers that did everything from grading the construction site, building forms and mixing and pouring concrete footers. From there we built girders and built the floor joists on the girders. Once the floor joists had plywood decking installed, we put up stud walls and roof trusses. Roof decking was put down along with tar-impregnated roofing felt and corrugated tin roofing."

This was a unique job for McCarty and the other members of the team because it was something they normally would not do at their home station.

"Doing the facility maintenance and repair in Afghanistan wasn't much different from what Structures does here at Whiteman," McCarty said. "However, getting to spend three months on a new construction project was unique because most of the new construction on Whiteman is contracted out and is not something our structures shop gets to do."

McCarty, who volunteered for this deployment, appreciated others' praise for the job he performed.

"It made me feel great when I saw the gratitude on peoples' faces for improving their quality of life in a place where the difference between taking a cold or hot shower can make somebody's day," McCarty said.

He also acknowledged the importance of the overall mission.

"Our main mission was traveling around to the different FOBs repairing plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and facilities for our customer, an Army unit known as Task Force Empire," McCarty said. "Our mission was important because by maintaining the facilities that the Army used, they were able to use their engineers to help clear roads or routes of improvised explosive devices for convoys."

McCarty knows the job he conducted while deployed was a rare opportunity that most civil engineers long for and few get during their careers.

"My greatest reward for the job we did was getting to christen and open the shooting range we built, by firing the very first round from a Barrett Model 99 single-shot bolt-action rifle chambered in a .50 Browning machine gun," said McCarty.

McCarty said he missed his family and hunting most of all.

"I missed archery, rifle deer-hunting and waterfowl hunting," McCarty said. "I missed the entire 2012-2013 hunting season, so I already can't wait for next season to begin."

McCarty said if his time in the Air Force were over tomorrow, this deployment would be a capstone event.