An Airman from the 86th Air and Space Communications Group was recently awarded the Army Commendation Medal for serving with the Army as a heavy weapons gunner while deployed August 2004 to March 2005.
Senior Airman Timothy Talkie, 1st Communications Maintenance Squadron dispatcher, deployed as a Gun Truck Escort with the Army in Iraq and Kuwait.
“I went from driving air crews, making sure they got off the planes okay, to doing a Soldier’s job,” said Airman Talkie.
He completed rigorous weekly training to maintain the highest degree of convoy escort skills on specialized radio systems and weapons to provide tower security. This training enabled him to secure 20,000 military, civilian and country nationals from insurgent attacks for over 33 convoys and successfully escorted 660 vehicles, over 10,000 miles throughout Kuwait and Iraq.
“We normally did night missions, sometimes getting as little as four to five hours of sleep,” he said.
Eighty percent of the material transferred by convoy was fuel. “We delivered a lot of supplies and fuel to the Marines to help them in their war effort,” he said.
Airman Talkie described the roads as dangerous because “Iraqis would dig up land mines and put them in the roads, sometimes knocking vehicles completely over,” he said. “Most of the time, the roads were safe but we had our weapons to protect us. On the base you never know when something is going to hit and you have to be ready for it.”
Being away from his family and home was difficult for Airman Talkie, but he formed close bonds with his fellow soldiers. “You put your life in their hands and they put their life in yours. You had to trust them and rely on your gunners and your drivers. Everyone works together and we always make it back home.
“It was a good learning experience and made me respect the United States Army,” he said
Next week: Read about 435th Airmen receiving this award.