82nd CES sends 15 to Colorado, Iraq

Braxton Brittian places a kiss on his father’s cheek Saturday afternoon before the final group of 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron personnel head to Colorado for training with the Army at Fort Carson. Senior Airman Brett Brittian works in the structural shop at the CES. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike McKito).

Braxton Brittian places a kiss on his father’s cheek Saturday afternoon before the final group of 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron personnel head to Colorado for training with the Army at Fort Carson. Senior Airman Brett Brittian works in the structural shop at the CES. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike McKito).

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Leadership of the 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron told a few personnel their deployment to Iraq is all about focus and communication Saturday as two groups left Sheppard to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

The civil engineers will provide power production support to an undisclosed location in country following a one-month training session with the Army at Fort Carson, Colo.
"It should be a little bit healthy for us" to train with the Army, said Master Sgt. Michael Saiphoo, a 366th Training Squadron instructor who pulled back his retirement paperwork so he could deploy. "Better safe than sorry." 

A total of 15 civil engineers will deploy from here over the next month, but the bulk of them left Saturday. Five Airmen left Sheppard at 6 a.m., followed by two at 10 a.m. and eight Airmen Saturday afternoon. 

All deploying members will train on use of weapons, combat skills and field training at Fort Carson. 

Sergeant Saiphoo, who hit his 20-year mark March 31, said he enjoys doing his job and looks forward to "getting to do the real thing again." 

His wife of 13 years, Nadia, said this isn't his first deployment, so she knows what to expect. She also steps up to help other wives who might not be used to deployments.
Saturday's deployment marked the fourth time Staff Sgt. Angie Alvarez, a supply Airman, packed her duffel bag to go to another country. 

"I was kind of excited," Sergeant Alvarez said of her deployment to Iraq. "I'm not sure what to expect over there." 

She said she was somewhat nervous about going to Colorado to train with the Army because she doesn't know what to expect. 

"I don't know if I'm going to Army basic," she said. 

Chief Master Sgt. John Little, the senior enlisted manager for the 82nd CES, told his enlisted members to not slack on discipline in the hostile environment. The chief, a veteran of OIF and a bronze star recipient for his tour, also said the group should depend on each other to make it through the hard and trying times. 

"It's going to be okay," he said. "Talk it out." 

Lt. Col. Phillip Triplett, 82nd CES commander, provided the final words of encouragement and direction to his squadron members. 

"Don't lose your focus over there," the colonel said. "If you make a mistake, things get really serious." 

Communication between deployed Airmen, family members and the squadron is the key to making the separation a positive experience, Colonel Triplett said. It's important for family members here to contact the squadron for any type of support. 

He told husbands and wives they shouldn't wait until something becomes a crisis before they decide to call. The colonel said the squadron is their lifeline during a deployment. 

"The bottom line is this is a family," Colonel Triplett said, "and this is the time family comes together."