BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan --
As a service member serving in the Armed Forces, though deployments are in the job description, they still can cause a lot of stress in life.
Being deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan is no different and the facilities provided on base are here to help ease the some of the pressures of a combat environment.
Here at BAF, making sure that each Airmen is taken care of and provided the best quality of life is Senior Airman Astrid Hernandez, 455th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron contracting officer representative.
“ I look over the fitness centers, Morale, Welfare and Recreations and lodging,” Hernandez said. “I help make improvements for the facilities and make sure the contractors are meeting standards and following guidelines.”
Hernandez stated that working in a deployed environment has been a unique and rewarding experience and continues to look for new ways to make the lives of Airmen better at BAF.
“Every day here is different,” said Hernandez. “We always have something going on here. One day we’ll be building bedframes for lodging. Other days we’ll be moving equipment from one gym to another. So we stay busy changing things and making improvements to help with the quality of life for Airmen.”
According to Capt. Ricci Hall, 455th EFSS director of operations, it is Airmen like Hernandez who make the force support mission happen every day.
“This EFSS is a team of unsung heroes and Hernandez is a rock star,” said Hall. “She has a desire to learn new things, takes pride in what she does, and has yet to shy away from any challenge given to her. We have watched her grow and develop so much on this deployment.”
Hall added that Hernandez is an extremely hard worker and plays an important role in her three person COR team.
”Hernandez was a newly pinned Senior Airman filling an NCO billet, with no COR experience,” said Hall. “Now she manages one of the largest purchasing accounts in the wing, improving QoL for the entire base. She has become an awesome proactive Airman during her time at Bagram and we are so very proud to see the NCO she will become.”
Hailing from Oregon, Hernandez is currently deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, and has been in the Air Force for 3 years.
“I joined the Air force to travel and for education,” said Hernandez. “I am a triplet, so paying for school was going to be very expensive. Joining the military was the best option for me because I get to travel, go to school and meet new people.”
Hernandez is currently serving on her first deployment and said that she was a little worried about it..
“I was nervous and excited when I found out I was deploying,” said Hernandez. “Nervous because I was the only one in my unit deploying here to Afghanistan. I was excited because this is my first deployment and I was ready to get here and get the experience.”
The mission of the 455th EFSS is, put simply, to take care of Airmen.
“My job here is important because through lodging, we give people a place to stay,” said Hernandez. “Our MWRs provide a place for everyone to come together and socialize. Our fitness centers help us stay physically fit for the mission and a lot of people find fitness a stress reliever.
”If I weren’t here, the morale here would be really low. We plan events to make sure everyone has fun and can destress. Being a part of the FSS, we support everyone here. Whether that is through our lodging facility, fitness centers, or MWRs, we make sure we take care of each other.”