2004 Deployment to Balad Air Base, Iraq Priscilla Noll

Journey to Iraq

Staff Sergeant LaShawndra Singleton and I were tasked with a six month deployment to Iraq from Keesler Air Force Base, MS. Our friends and co-workers showed their support by seeing us depart at the airport (March 2004).

Accounting for Air Force on Army Convoys

I was a Personnelist in the Air Force and was deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq in 2004 to try to locate the first 2,000 Air Force that were Joint-Tasked to support the Army. Air Force Fire Fighters, Logistics Fuels, and Security Forces personnel had arrived to Camp Wolverine, Kuwait and were not accounted for by Air Force personnel. The Army met up with the Air Force troops and had them convoy to 7 different locations in Iraq. My duty was to fly in black hawk helicopters to those locations to obtain a copy of the Air Force personnel's orders and identify which Army battalion they were assigned to and where their location was in the Air Force MANPER-B classified system.

Meeting Up with Army Convoys

I truly enjoyed the camaraderie of meeting up with Army convoys! I really enjoyed the opportunity of having a picture taken of sitting in the 50 Cal seat!

Camaraderie with Local Iraqis

Working side by side with local Iraqis in our tent city. They would get paid $5.00 per day to work at Balad Air Base. They would leave their AK 47's at the main gate and load up on a vehicle to be transported to locations on base that needed assistance with manual labor. Sadly, it was reported that some of the Iraqis would work on base and share the intel of what they gathered by working with us with the insurgents. If they did not, they were looked down upon as being "traitors."

Embracing Sandbag Detail

Every evening, from 6pm - 12 am I worked in the "Sandpits" to put dirt and stack 200 sandbags per pallet onto 17 metal aircraft pallets.

Rocket and Mortar Attacks

It was estimated we would have 150 rocket and mortar attacks per day! Insurgents would attack Balad Air Base first thing in the morning when we were getting up and getting ready for work, during lunch, and as soon as the sun went down until about 2 am. The intensity of inbound rocket/mortar attacks was frightening!

Easter Weekend, April 10th, 2004

Tragedy struck at our Air Force tent city the evening of April 10th, 2004. Airman First Class Antoine J. Holt was killed from an incoming mortar that hit his tent. The Recreation Tent directly across from A1C Holt's tent was the intended target.

A1C Antione J. Holt, First Airman Casualty during Operation Iraqi Freedom

When A1C Holt's life was lost, everyone was stunned and in deep concerns over the safety of our tent city. A majority of Air Force personnel complained about how lit up our tent city was in the night and how it made us a direct target. Our base commander issued for all main lights to be turned off. We would use our flashlights to see where we were going.

Paying Respect for Our Fallen Soldiers

Whenever fallen soldiers were being transported, we would receive an email notification to report around 4 am to form up at the flight line to pay our respects. This was the hardest thing I had to experience. It was difficult for me to know we all flew in alive and now I was seeing soldiers going home in metal boxes. This experience made me realize the ultimate sacrifices that are made to support and defend our country.

Proud to be an American!


Created with images by Randy Son Of Robert - "To the Fallen Ones" • nile - "candle advent christmas" • redfoxinict - "GOD BLESS AMERICA" • Elvert Barnes - "16a.Interior.RRWNA.20jan06" • Ferlinka Borzoi (Deb West) - "Dad finally got all of his WWII medals!" • damon.garrett - "God Bless Chinatown" • ** RCB ** - "God bless America" • 316th ESC - "20110912-A-B5818_0002" • Fort Meade - "PH-FL 2428907_ph_so_24_CamdenYards" • mwlguide - "God Bless America"

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