News>Heritage, morale of 380th AEW ‘cemented’ in art
The 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron's Desert Depot T-wall bears the image of a falcon. The Desert Depot T-wall underwent a touch-up Aug. 14, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Scott MacKay)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Wesley Grooms, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Desert Depot journeyman, pours paint in preparation to touch up the squadron's T-wall Aug. 14, 2012. Grooms, a Booneville, Miss., native, is deployed to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing from Barksdale Air Force Base, La. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Scott MacKay)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Quintin Owens, 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Desert Depot journeyman, paints the squadron's T-wall Aug. 14, 2012. Owens, an Atlanta native, is deployed to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing from Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Scott MacKay)
by Tech. Sgt. Amanda Savannah
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
8/14/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Newcomers to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing spend their first couple of days here inprocessing with various agencies around base and integrating into their units.
As they get to know their surroundings, they learn there's a strong sense of heritage and unit morale.
They don't just learn this in their units; it's evident as they continually encounter the wing's memorials and painted T-wall concrete barriers spread across the base.
One such T-wall belongs to the 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Desert Depot. As the depot houses the wing's individual protective equipment, Tech. Sgt. Jose Ross, 380th ELRS individual protective equipment NCO in charge, said it's one of the first stops for those inprocessing here.
"(The T-wall mural is) a symbol to let everyone know we've got pride in what we're doing," said Ross, who is deployed from Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. "We've got that pride, and that pride is illustrated in this mural."
Master Sgt. Laurie Cherry, 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron first sergeant, said she thinks the walls are "cool" because they help raise morale.
"Being a first sergeant, I think morale is key to the success of any organization," said Cherry, who is deployed from the Arizona Air National Guard at Luke AFB. "It's something that people take pride in, it's like, 'Look what we did'."
In addition to other squadron T-wall murals, the wing also proudly displays a 9-11 memorial, fallen Airman memorial, and walls representing enlisted professional organizations.
To ensure these memorials and T-walls stand strong here for future rotations, they are continually maintained.
The wing's Top 3 Heritage Committee is responsible for maintaining all the heritage displays, except the individual squadron walls. Together, Master Sgt. Paul Guyer, 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft section superintendent and heritage committee lead, and Cherry, the heritage committee alternate, work to schedule volunteers to clean the displays twice a month.
"We walk around to each one, spray it down with water, take a light sponge and wipe the dust off, then rinse it off and move on to the next," said Cherry, a Tucson, Ariz., native. "We're trying to preserve them so they last longer."
Cherry said the group has also painted clear paint over many of the walls to help preserve them.
"I feel great pride when I walk around with my spray bottle cleaning them off," Cherry said. "Just getting the dust off, that's all I'm doing, but it feels like, 'Look what I just did, it's beautiful'."
Ross and his teammates are currently repainting their piece of wing legacy.
"We're going to do something everybody will always see when they come here," said Ross, a New York City native. "If you come here (to the 380th AEW), you have to come to our section. When you see the mural, being the ones who restored it, it has an impact on us."
He said the impact on the squadron goes all the way up his chain to his commander, who entrusted the group to complete the restoration.
"Our commander trusted us to do this, so we've got her back," Ross said. "We're going to do the best we can to honor her. I can't wait to finish it up and those colors get a little brighter and people see it a little bit more and it leaves the same impact -- that impact that you're here in the (area of responsibility) and it's not just fun and games. You're here to make an impact on the mission."