Face of Defense: Deployed Airman Hits Career Milestone
By Staff Sgt. Tia Schroeder, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
SOUTHWEST ASIA, Dec. 20, 2007 A deployed airman recently joined an elite group of aviators after flying his 200th combat mission and reaching 1,500 combat hours.
Air Force Master Sgt. Anthony Roy conducts a preflight inspection on an EC-130H Compass Call aircraft Dec. 8, 2007, at a forward-deployed location. Roy is an instructor flight engineer with 43rd Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron and is deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. Photo by Staff Sgt. Tia Schroeder, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Master Sgt. Anthony Roy, a 43rd Electronic Combat Squadron instructor flight engineer deployed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., reached a career milestone that only three other airmen in the squadron have accomplished.
"Reaching 200 combat missions and flying 1,500 combat hours was a milestone in my career that I never imagined that I would reach," Roy said. "When my squadron first started flying over here and deploying on a regular basis, I hit my first 100 combat missions. I thought that was going to be it, but it wasn't."
Six years ago, Roy cross-trained out of the aircraft maintenance career field to be an instructor flight engineer.
"I really enjoy my job," he said. "I like being in the operations end of it. I worked in maintenance for 13 years and watched planes take off, never knowing where they went or what they did. Now I'm on the airplane and actually getting to do the mission. I'm able to learn not just about my job on the airplane, but what other crewmembers do. Being able to be involved, I get the unique opportunity that most enlisted people don't get to do. I get to train officers."
As an instructor flight engineer, Roy's primary job is to pass on his knowledge of the aircraft to the rest of the crewmembers to ensure mission success.
"I've had many memorable moments in my career," he said. "What stands out the most is how the Air Force's role in the fight against terror has changed the skies over Iraq. When we first started flying over here after the initial Operation Iraqi Freedom push, American servicemembers moved into Iraq, and we were starting the whole rebuild process. We would go up every night, and you would see nothing but explosions, firefights and very few city lights. Now, when we go up and you see fewer explosions, fewer firefights, and the city lights of Baghdad have tripled. So just seeing the difference and how far that country has grown is the most memorable and rewarding experience I've had in my 20-year Air Force career."
Throughout his career, Roy has been deployed 14 times and will most likely retire in October. "Reaching 200 missions to me means that I did my part to be truly successful in the original purpose of why we came over here in the first place," he said.
(Air Force Staff Sgt. Tia Schroeder is assigned to 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.)