Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar --
Editor’s Note: This is two of a three part series about family members deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar together.
It has been said, that to understand what someone is going through, a person needs to walk a mile in their shoes, a saying that one staff sergeant assigned on her first deployment to the Middle East took to heart.
U.S. Staff Sgt. Kaviana Holmes, 379th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron commander support staff non-commissioned officer in charge, and her mother U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Katina Wise, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Force Support Squadron force community superintendent, are both currently deployed to Al Udeid, Air Base, Qatar.
“I wanted to deploy because I wanted to broaden my skill set and experience another country and everything it had to offer,” said Holmes. I didn’t know we would be deploying together when I first volunteered for it, so it was a nice surprise to know she was going too.”
Natives of Columbia, South Carolina, both Wise and Homes are Air National Guard and stationed at 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina and have both been deployed to Al Udeid AB since January 2020.
Wise, who is on her fourth deployment said being here with her daughter has been unlike any other deployment she has been on.
“This is my fourth deployment and it’s been different in three ways,” she said. “My first time as a superintendent, first time being with family, and COVID-19 was definitely a jaw-dropper. The thought of being so close to the events in Iran were also a dose of reality.”
Although, they’ve been deployed amid a pandemic and Al Udeid has been operating at minimum capacity for off-duty events, the pair have still be able to share time and memories together.
“We workout together, eat lunch most days, and dinner just about every night together and a sounding board when I’m frustrated. We talk situations through many days.”
Holmes, who has been in the ANG for 8 years, also added, “Sometimes we just walk around and talk at night.”
When not spending personal time with her mother, Holmes operates as the CSS for her unit here at Al Udeid. She is responsible for providing support to the 379th EOSS commander and assigned flights, as well as managing nine additional duties for the unit. At home station, she is the personnelist for the 169th Maintenance Group.
Holmes also said her mother is a big reason why she joined the ANG.
“My mother was one of the influences early in my life that helped guide my decision to join the Air Force later on and I’m glad I got to share this experience with her.”
Wise, who had been in the ANG for 19 years, said the best part of this experience is being able to be here with her daughter, while doing her job and seeing the world.
“The best part for me is having the opportunity to serve my country while being able to visit new places and meet new people of various nationalities,” she said.
As the superintendent of force support community, Wise gets to do just what she wants to do –
meet new people.
Wise is responsible for all aspects of the morale Al Udeid alcohol program at facilities on base. She is also charged with ensuring facilities managers have everything they need to maintain all avenues of entertainment such as the Coalition Compound pool, movie theaters, Memorial Plaza and the Learning Resource Center.
When asked if she’d deploy again with her mother, Holmes said. “I definitely think it’s a rare opportunity to be out here with her and I always get a kick out of other peoples surprise when I tell them I’m doing something with my mother and that I mean my real mom,” said Holmes. "Hopefully I’ll get to do another deployment with her in the future and experience new things with her all over again.”