Back from Israel

Chief Master Sgt. Tim Tillman on the daily grind. Photo by Master Sgt. Julie Barklow.

Chief Master Sgt. Tim Tillman on the daily grind. Photo by Master Sgt. Julie Barklow.

The 176 CES on location in Israel. Photo by Master Sgt. Julie Barklow.

The 176 CES on location in Israel. Photo by Master Sgt. Julie Barklow.

KULIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Alaska -- What a wonderful opportunity I was afforded to deploy recently with our 176th Civil Engineer Squadron to Israel. When Lt. Col. Andrew Mamrol, the Squadron's commander, suggested I go along, I declined, thinking it was some sort of "chief gimme." 

However, after hearing him out, he convinced me that it was exactly what command chiefs should be doing whenever possible -- working with and getting to know Wing members, especially drill-status members. He was absolutely right: The mission was valid and was taken seriously by every member. I was so impressed by the tenacity with which they took on each task, and it was a joy to work along with them. 

Weekends provided many opportunities for sightseeing as well. We were able to see Elait and swim in the Red Sea, and visit the Dead Sea during the week, as it was relatively close to the base. We spent the middle weekend in Tel Aviv where we swam in the Mediterranean, and toured the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights and the city of Jerusalem. 

Because of the aggressiveness with which everyone attacked the original list of tasks and the additional ones we were given, we finished more than a day ahead of schedule, so were also able to visit Masada and En Gedi our last day before leaving. 

It was a pleasure for me to be in the company of such fine airmen, as we helped reinforce the relationship America has built over the years with our Israeli allies. I'd be proud to serve with the 176 CES again any time, anywhere.
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