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DoD Civilian Trio Backs ASAB with Vital Support

  • Published
  • By Semior Airman Michael S. Murphy
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

When Steven Liddy is at his home station, at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, he would normally put on a button up dress shirt with a tie, a jacket, slacks and dress shoes when going into work at the Air Mobility Command Headquarters, outside of St. Louis, Missouri.

Now Liddy is the inspector general assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing IG, the first civilian to hold that title in an AEW. Liddy, along with two other civilians, Fernando Brown, the 386th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron community services flight commander and Thomas Bradley, the 386th EFSS deputy commander, don the operational camouflage pattern uniforms, coyote brown combat boots, and matching patches to their respective agencies. These individuals are referred to as the Triad.

“While I’ve deployed on numerous occasions in a military capacity, this was the first time as a civilian,” said Liddy, who is a retired U.S Air Force colonel. “I received official notice of my deployment a day or two before I was to start leave.”

Liddy said that even though deployed civilians must meet the same readiness standards as their uniformed counterparts, they do not receive the same benefits while deployed but receive different benefits instead.

“The benefit is to serve my country,” Liddy said. “My father was a World War II vet and a retired federal agent. Serving my country is kind of innate.”

Between the three members, the Triad have a more than 59 years of military experience and eight college degrees.

Brown and Bradley were both enlisted in the Air Force before continuing their service in the Department of Defense. The Triad bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with them in their leadership roles here at Ali Al Salem Air Base.

“In this environment, we bring a different skill set and perspective to the squadrons we support,” Brown said. “For my flight specifically, community services, most of the military members are working jobs outside of what they would normally be doing at their home station.”

Brown explained that he brings experience in overseeing community programs and working with different types of funding that’s brought in for activities the 386th EFSS hosts. Brown himself said he remembers missing out on community programs when he was an Airman, and also as a military spouse as his wife continued to serve as he pursued temporary and Government Services positions.

“When I was stationed overseas and my wife was deployed, I got to see how vital it was to have programs to participate in that helped build a sense of community,” said Brown, who is deployed out of Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and manages the bowling and golf departments for the three locations that make up JBSA. “Taking part in those programs alongside others who were going through the same experiences made everything easier. From the Activity Management and Administrative side, I can help ensure we are continuously refining our business practices so we are fiscally responsible as we need to be. One the programming side, I am able to draw on past experiences to help guide community planning when necessary.”

For Bradley, who is deployed out of Travis Air Force Base, California, and is the Airman and Family Readiness Flight Chief at Travis, he is reminded of his previous deployment to Kuwait in 1992 and how it has improved his leadership abilities from then to now.

“I think the most important thing is for civilians to understand what active duty, guard and reservist go through getting ready for a deployment,” Bradley said, who enlisted in the USAF out of high school in 1982. “That understanding and shared experience helps us all get on the same page for one team, one fight.”

Bradley said he encourages all of his staff to deploy simply for the understanding it brings. He said doing so will help his staff members better support service members looking for help, since his personal experience was a great learning experience.

“My first deployment, I left my wife with three kids, aged five, three and two,” said Bradley, a retired USAF master sergeant. “I had no idea what my wife went through until I got a small taste of it when my son deployed to Iraq many years later.”

The three civilians all said that their experience with working alongside and leading teams belonging to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing has been constructive, and are hopeful that their work will have a positive impact on future DoD Civilian deployments.

“I would hope that the total force becomes more inclusive on a regular basis,” Liddy said. “I truly hope the military recognizes the huge value in the experience and diversity which the civilian workforce brings to the table.”

Brown said that he appreciates all the support his family has given to him on his deployment, and looks forward to seeing them soon.

“Unlike military members, our families don’t expect us to have to leave for extended periods,” Brown said. “It’s unique, and not a lot of civilians deploy.”

Bradley gave the parting words to service members stationed here this rotation to enjoy Kuwait to the fullest.

“Get off base!” Bradley said. “Carpe Diem. You’ve all been part of a historical evacuation, literally saved thousands of lives, and made their future lives immensely better.”