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Shared Experiences | 379th ELRS | Daniel Norris

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Brigette Waltermire
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing

Master Sgt. Daniel Norris’ most impactful experience on deployment was doing combat missions to provide supplies to forward operating bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This taught him the importance of focusing on practice makes perfect because “doing the small things right every time prepares Airmen to do it without second thought while under pressure.”

The small things are not simply related to ground transportation under the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron … although being responsible for operating a 24-hour shuttle service, getting aircrew to and from their aircraft, or operating tractor trailers and forklifts for all of Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, are not small things.

“A majority of my time is spent getting my Airmen to understand I don’t want them to be the best ground transportation operator, but the best Airman,” he said. “I manage an 83-person section, although manning can vary, and 164 vehicles worth $23 million.”

The ground transportation section has a big role in sortie generation. Something as simple as making sure aircrew are able to reach the aircraft on time is a major function of their section. Airmen who work in the combined air operations center for U.S. Air Forces Central or the Special Operations Command Central compound rely on the shuttle service to and from their living areas and work centers. The overall operations are based on data – how long vehicles are on the road, how many people are being transported, and where changes can be made to save money and reduce accident potential.

While the technical side of this work is also not among the small things, he finds his biggest challenge on this deployment boils down to helping his people understand the importance of their job and taking pride in their efforts.

“People always make or break any assignment on a deployment,” he said. “I've learned a lot and grown a lot from specifically those deployments with combat missions. Because of those situations that I was put through, I want to teach my Airmen and my NCOs that there's more than just you being a ground transportation person. I want to prepare them for the next step in their life.”

It is his third time at Al Udeid, his ninth deployment, and also his last. His 21st year in the Air Force is in April of 2021, and he is preparing for the next step outside of the military.

“There have been some big lessons on leadership for me here, and I want to make a positive impact – because I learn and grow a lot on deployments and I want my Airmen to as well,” he said. “This by volume is the busiest and biggest function throughout the entire career field. I always try to make a mark where I can, always try to make either a person or a process better, safer, faster or smarter. I know this all sounds cheesy but … I hope they can look at the bigger picture and understand that we're providing a service to our country and the people that they love.”