By Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen, 108th Wing
/ Published June 24, 2015
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST -- There's a first time for everything.
In a person's life there will be the first time you ride a bicycle or the first time you drive a car without your parent riding shotgun, and of course, your first kiss.
The military is no different: Except the most significant first is your first deployment.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Senior Airman David G. Abreu. "I'm a little anxious, excited, nervous; it's a mix of emotions."
When news of his unit's deployment first came out, everyone in the shop wanted to go. Abreu had just finished his associates' degree in criminal justice and was planning on getting his bach¬elors in criminal justice at Kean University.
For the 108th Wing hydraulic mechanic, deploying to the U.S. Central Command area of operations in support of Operations En¬during Freedom and Freedom's Sentinel, gives him the opportu¬nity to put his skills to the test in a combat environment.
"I was told 'just be ready to do the job and do it right,'" said Abreu.
For his role in the operation, Abreu will be responsible for everything on the KC-135R Stratotanker that deals with hydrau¬lic and pneumatic systems, especially the boom. The KC-135R, which can carry up to 200,000 pounds of fuel, uses the boom to transfer fuel to American and coalition aircrafts. The mid-air refu¬eling gives fighters and bombers longer reach on combat missions.
"The boom is exclusively the hydraulic shop's responsibility," said Abreu. "It's what makes this aircraft special."
Operation Freedom's Sentinel is the new United States military mission in support of operations in Afghanistan and is the United States' part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission. This par¬ticular deployment will also include support of Operation Endur¬ing Freedom, the all-encompassing war on terrorism operation in the CENTCOM AOR.
Abreu will not be alone for his first deployment. More than 140 Airmen will be deploying in and out of the AOR in support of Freedom's Sentinel during the summer.
And because this is a new operation, this will be their first time in support of this new mission.