MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (12/2/2012) - Deployments are nothing new to
Capt. Christopher T. Tusing, the installation deployment officer for
the 167th Airlift Wing.
RSC-Capital Commander Col. Arthur G. Weeks III presents Capt.
Christopher T. Tusing with the Bronze Star Medal while the 167th
Airlift Wing airman was on deployment in Afghanistan. Photo Courtesy
of Capt. Christopher T. Tusing
With four previous tours of duty under his belt, as well as
overseeing the deployments of hundreds of airmen assigned to the
West Virginia Air National Guard Wing based in Martinsburg, one
might think that his fifth and most recent six-month deployment to
Afghanistan was a relatively routine one.
Nothing could have
been farther from the truth. In
fact, his six-month journey proved in the end to be a very personal
one providing a renewed connection to his great-grandfather who also
donned a uniform in service to his country.
While deployed to Afghanistan for the first time instructing
members of the country's army and police on how to manage the
logistics critical in helping to rebuild their war torn nation,
Tusing found himself making a multitude of memories which will last
And it all culminated with him earning a Bronze Star Medal for
accomplishing his mission above and beyond the call of duty.
Tusing said being honored with the Bronze Star Medal
while deployed with his military peers is a milestone in his
20-year career in the West Virginia Air National Guard he'll
never forget. Being pinned with the prestigious medal by his
overseas commander, Col. Arthur G. Weeks III, came as a
complete shock for the young officer.
the honor is something he's shared with very few back home. >
That is until now.
“I am very
humbled by it,” he said of earning the same award his
great-grandfather had been bestowed with back in World War
Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Waters, a medic with the
storied 1st Armored Division, earned his Bronze Star Medal
more than a half-century before his great-grandson for
service while deployed to the South Pacific during World War
"Never in my life would I have imagined being
awarded this prestigious decoration,” Tusing said. “A
decoration my great-grandfather was awarded by the Army
during World War II.”
“He never spoke about it - not
a word. I discovered it just after I returned from BMT
(Basic Military Training) going through all of his old
military things,” Tusing noted.
Sadly, the airman
made the discovery only a few years after his beloved
grandfather had passed away.
“I had always regretted
not being able to discuss it with him until now,” Tusing
said. “I guess in my own small way, now I understand his
silence and why I've attempted the same.
ingrained in my head years ago by one of my stronger leaders
here at the 167th Airlift Wing that the world has enough
`me' and `I' people - it's the team that gets the mission
done, which was definitely the case here.
truly blessed to be with and serve alongside great people,
from every branch of the United States military and a slew
of coalition nations; each doing great things on this
deployment throughout Afghanistan.
made sure we were equipped, trained and prepared to execute
effectively and everybody shared the load - without
exception,” the Berkeley Springs resident said. “I was
fortunate enough to be able to contribute to that team
effort throughout this deployment in different roles, levels
of responsibility and
remain both humbled and honored to have accepted this
recognition while still in country, amongst our deployed
team and I continue to look forward to each of their safe
Assigned to the NATO Training
Mission-Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition
Command-Afghanistan, Tusing was tasked with providing
oversight of over $6.4 billion of inventory.
According to the official citation which accompanied his
Bronze Star Medal, Tusing “orchestrated over 70 combat
convoy missions for Afghan trainers to provide instruction
to over 700 logisticians.”
Tusing said being honored
with the Bronze Star Medal ranks right up there with the
satisfaction he had helping deliver much needed clothes and
school supplies to the country's poorest via Operation
Outreach Afghanistan, a volunteer service organization
reportedly designed to help provide humanitarian aid to the
Afghan people living in the Kabul Province. The donated
items were collected by members of the Wing and sent to
Tusing who ensured it was delivered to those who needed it
For his efforts, Tusing was awarded the
Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal. In part the citation
for the award reads as follows: “Capt. Tusing's passion for
helping other people was instrumental in the growth and
effectiveness of Operation Outreach in the Camp Phoenix area
of operations. His good works enabled the soldiers, Marines,
sailors and airmen based at Camp Phoenix to build meaningful
relations with the Afghan people. His compassionate and
caring heart was invaluable in providing meaningful aid to
hundreds of Afghans.”
“Capt. Tusing's dedication and
devotion to the Afghan people through Operation Outreach
Afghanistan will have a lasting and positive effect on the
Afghan people in the Kabul province. The Afghan people he
touched will forever remember how he volunteered to help
heal their hearts and minds.”
Another highlight for
Tusing during his overseas tour was meeting a personal hero
- fellow West Virginian (ret.) Maj. Gen. Chuck Yeager - who
was visiting the deployed troops.
Even gearing up
for the six-month deployment was an adventure Tusing said
he'll never forget.
For his fifth deployment Tusing
underwent combat survival training for three months at Fort
Polk, La., prior to being deployed in October 2011 to Camp
Phoenix in Kabul, Afghanistan, as a combat logistics
Tusing said the training was not only
“enlightening and a lot of fun” but also quite challenging.
“I had the opportunity to see, touch, feel all the
‘GI Joe' equipment that most of the Air Force doesn't get a
chance to (experience),” he said.
“I was like a kid
in a candy store,” Tusing said of being able to have
hands-on training of some of the Army's most sophisticated
Adding that the training: “Was just
Once in country, Tusing was assigned
as a CJ-4 MobileTraining Team (MTT) combat advisor position
for the first three months and then tasked as a RSC-C
Logistics Training and Advisory Team - Army (LTAT-A)
Tusing explained transition in
mission “was due to the overall reduction of footprint with
the impending drawdown, but it really went pitch & catch
with the first half of my deployment.”
explained that the Afghan National Army and Afghan National
Police both have their own versions of AFI (Air Force
Instruction) and his mission was to help them implement the
procedures with regards to logistical operations.
“Our team's mission was to train their Afghan trainers on
their Afghan processes,” he said of the first half of his
“What was the most rewarding
part about that program is that it is a sustainable program
that they will be able to carry forward following our
departure. We had small teams going around training at ANA
and ANP camps on their logistic processes and procedures.”
From the storing to issuing of everything from
clothing and equipment to ammunitions, Tusing said, “Our
role was to train their instructors and shadow with their
training team as we went around Afghanistan.”
Tusing's fifth deployment was the first since he was
commissioned in 2006. He said each of the Wing's Logistics
Readiness Officers (LROs) will wind up taking a turn.
“While it was a mobilization, I was able to work to
secure and volunteer for this specific line,” he said. “It
was originally slated for (an) Active Duty Air Force
“Typically, the lengthy pre-deployment
training - this one is the longest - dissuades interest,”
Tusing noted. “When I read over what this mission would be,
it definitely piqued my interest.”
deployment Tusing even managed to qualify for a
Sch�tzenschnur, a German marksmanship badge. Ironically he
missed earning the gold medal by mere inches.
recalled that the German officer assigned to him as a range
guide “was more disappointed than I was about my near miss -
literally in inches - of the award in gold.”
definitely more than satisfied with the silver,” Tusing
said. “I was very thankful to be able to participate in the
“It was a great
memory,” he said summing up that nugget of experience.
Multiply that many times over and you get an idea of the
priceless memories Tusing will keep from his last
Along with the Bronze Star Medal and
Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal, Tusing was awarded the
Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal and Air Force
Expeditionary Service Ribbon.
By USAF Staff Sgt. Sherree Grebenstein
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