The Misadventures of Airman Snuffy McDufflebag and Master Sgt. Johnny Mentor

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Airman Snuffy McDufflebag did it! I mean it. He really did it. He lived up to the old adage "The sun even shines on a dog's ... face sometimes, Uh no! That's not it. OK, this one "Even a blind pig can find ... corn," No! Alright "If ties are like kissing your sister then losing is like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out!" Wait, that doesn't even make sense! Fine, Snuffy came through! 

When I saw Sergeant Mentor today he told me how Snuffy came through for the team. The habitual line stepper finally came through when his team needed him most. 

I haven't seen Sergeant Mentor beam this much since he talked about the pride he felt when he was at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, La., in August of 2005.  Usually, that airport is pretty sterile, with waxed floors and fresh air, everybody moving through quickly because nobody plans on staying long. 

That was before Hurricane Katrina. After the storm, instead of businessmen and vacationers coming through, it was a different kind of traveler packing the airport -- evacuees trying to catch a plane out. Among them were many people who were sick or injured during the hurricane. 

But Sergeant Mentor witnessed a total force team of Airmen helping get the sick and injured out of the airport at a steady clip of about 1,500 every 24 hours. More than anything, Sergeant Mentor remembered the Airmen coming through for the team. 

I haven't seen Sergeant Mentor stick his chest out like this since October of 2005, when barely more than two weeks after a devastating 7.6 earthquake rocked parts of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Airmen across the globe supported the Pakistan-led earthquake relief operations with a massive movement of aid in the region. 

Sergeant Mentor watched Incirlik Airmen rise to the occasion and spearhead the movement of seven U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster IIIs and four C-130 Hercules aircraft. The aircraft transported 74 pallets, or more than 441,300 pounds of cargo consisting of clothes, sleeping bags, cots, tents and food. Additional cargo included vehicles, cargo loading and maintenance equipment, generators, and temporary basing equipment to aid in the rebuilding process. Once again, the Airmen came through for the team. 

He spoke with the same patriotism he felt when the base built Patriot Village, providing housing, telephone access, a 24-hour BX/Shoppette, a children's play area, chaplain's assistance and medical services to more than 1,700 people transitioning back to the U.S. from war-torn Lebanon. From logistics and personnel to medical and security, from military members, contractors and dependents -- everyone came together to accomplish that goal. It wasn't about the mission here or the war on terror, it was about helping out our fellow man, our fellow Americans. This was just another example of the Airmen coming through for the team. 

He spoke like he did when he remembered back to Sept. 11, 2001, when more than 2,970 lives were taken away from us by senseless terrorist attacks. It's been five years since that fateful day and when he looks at the Air Force's role in Operation Enduring Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism, he still sees the team coming through.
Battlefield Airmen recently reached the six million mile-mark in convoys driven on the roads of Iraq. The Airmen of Detachment 2632, a part of the 732nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, and Detachment 1058, out of Forward Operating Base Speicher, supported almost 5,000 convoys since they began their mission March 2, 2004. The squadrons fall under the tactical control of the U.S. Army, filling in for vehicle operators the Army is short of. 

Riding in trucks through Iraq, manning a weapon and facing armed adversaries is not a scenario many Air Force vehicle operators thought they would see. But that is exactly what Airmen are doing -- driving convoys for the Army supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, continuing their efforts to come through for the team. 

Sergeant Mentor said Snuffy stood there in a uniform a firewall-five Airman would be proud to wear. He answered all questions asked of him by inspectors, was patient and when it really counted -- he knew what to do! He came through for the team. 

I was happy for Snuffy and inspired to keep myself working to ensure Team Incirlik does the best it can on the inspection. Man, I can't believe we only have a few more days of showing why team Incirlik is the best in the command. If a habitual line stepper can come through for the team, I know the rest of us can do our part to help and not smurf it up. I hope Airman McDufflebag's excellence keeps up after the inspection is over, but we all know the habitual line stepper will be at it again.