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Deployed Airmen visit orphanage
By Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177th Fighter Wing Public Affairs; photos courtesy Master Sgt Jill Kovak, 177th Fighter Wing Services Flight

Deployed 177th Services Flight Airmen joined forces with the Manas Area Benefit Outreach Society to visit an orphanage in the village of Niz, Kyrgyz Republic.

"I was asked to go to the orphanage, and I fell in love with the children from the first visit," said Lodging Specialist Tech. Sgt. Kim King.

The Airmen are deployed at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyz Republic in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Master Sgts. Dean Burlew, Jill Kovak and Harry Steele, Tech. Sgt. King, and Senior Airmen Vanessa Torres and Tamikia Hart visited the orphanage where the children's ages ranged between six and 12.

"We participated in outdoor activities; played soccer and tag," said Services Sustainment Superintendent Master Sgt. Kovak. "We also brought them shoes which they were in need of."

"We also brought them shoes which they

Master Sgt. Jill Kovak and a new friend at an orphanage in Niz, Kyrgyz Republic.
were in need of."

"I saw that something can be done to make a difference in the children's lives and help build a relationship between America and with the Kyrgyz community," said Food Operations Superintendent Master Sgt. Steele.

The orphanage is one of 10 organizations, which include schools and children's heart and cancer centers supported by MABOS, a non-profit base community service organization. During the visits, Airmen bring toys, clothes, school supplies and textbooks. MABOS holds fund raisers to purchase items for the visits, as well as raises money for the children's heart surgeries. So far, MABOS has paid for more than 200 heart surgeries.

"The amount of joy and happiness I have received from MABOS volunteering is tremendous, and I will be taking home life-lasting memories," said Kovak.

Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, 177th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

After six months of distance learning, 42 New Jersey National Guard Soldiers and Airmen defied the elements to complete the Joint Force Headquarters/Joint Task Force Staff Training Course on Feb. 7.

The training, which is geared toward dealing with natural or manmade disasters, ended up mirroring reality when snows inundated New Jersey making it nearly impossible to hold the class. Defying the elements, 31 Soldiers and 11 Airmen, along with two Airmen from the New York Air National Guard traveled from across the state to Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Lawrenceville to attend the final training segment.

Hosted by National Guard Bureau and North American Air Defense-Northern Command personnel, the training combined table-top exercises and traditional classroom instruction to bring together the various elements covered in the distance-learning portion of the class.

Lt. Col. John N. Metzler, standing, Operations and Training, Army Aviation Support Facility, presents his group's findings during Joint Force Headquarters/Joint Task Force Staff Training Course.
The training is geared toward Joint Force Headquarters/ Joint Task Force Staff members supporting State, Federal, and dual status missions.

While the group was a small compared to the greater population of New Jersey Army and Air National Guard, with the increase in dual missions, this training will become more important and widespread.

"Everyone will eventually be getting some form of this training," said Col. Kevin C. Hegarty, HSCOE Operations and Training.
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Volume 35 Number 1 Staff / Information
(c) 2010 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs