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Deployment Gives Airmen Full Picture of Air Force Mission

  • Published
  • By MSgt Dan Heaton
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing

Two Airmen serving on their first deployment said the experience is giving them a better understanding of the big picture of service in the U.S. Air Force.

“Being a part of the Security Forces squadron – it just opens my eyes to so much more and gives me a better understanding of the full mission,” said Airman 1st Class Naya Copeland.

Normally, Copeland is a personnel specialist assigned to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. She’s currently deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates and assigned as a Force Protection augmentee, escorting Other Country Nationals who are doing contract work around the base.

On a recent sunny morning the week before Christmas, she and Senior Airman Gabriel Robinson were escorting a custodial crew who were making the rounds of the base.

“This deployment is teaching me that every little job matters. Nothing is too small to not need to be done right,” said Robinson, an Alabama native who is currently deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.

Robinson only recently arrived at Al Dhafra and is still settling in. Copeland, a native of Virginia, has been at the base a couple of months and has spent time volunteering with the base Honor Guard, volunteering as a mail sorter at the base Mail Center and taking some CLEP courses to further her college goals.

“Being on this deployment is teaching me how to be a leader,” she said. “This gives me so much more opportunity to learn about the Air Force and about being a leader. It has been a good experience so far.”