Promotions abroad a unique opportunity

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ben Mellon
  • 134th Air Refueling Wing

Three Airmen from the 134th Civil Engineer Squadron were promoted to staff sergeant here, May 7.

Any time a promotion comes in an Airman’s career, it is typically a good time, however, sometimes a promotion comes at the perfect time and creates an unforgettable experience.

“Three of our Airmen’s promotions became effective the first of the month, and being traditional guard personnel we weren’t at the base for a promotion at that time,” said First Sgt. Gary Ornduff, 134th CES.
The 134th CES Airmen left for their annual Deployed Field Training in Latvia before coming back to drill, so instead of waiting until the following drill, the command staff decided to do something special for these three Airmen.

“We thought about promoting them before we left the base but in the hurry-up, fast- paced situation we found ourselves in, the command staff decided it would be a cool experience to do the promotion on board the aircraft over the ocean or something,” said Ornduff. “The plane was too cramped and noisy for a proper promotion ceremony, so we decided to wait and have the ceremony there in a foreign country and I’m glad we did.”

Typically when an Airman is promoted, it will happen at their home station, is a very standard ceremony and rarely differs for any Airman. In this case the promotions came at a time that lent an unusual and unforgettable promotion experience for these three Airmen.

“That was a memorable occasion that I believe is something that will stick with them that they were promoted to an NCO level in a foreign country,” said Ornduff. “I know it’s going to stick with me, being my last DFT with the unit. This is one of the fondest memories that I will carry with me into retirement. It will stick in my heart that I was able to promote three new NCO’s in a foreign land.”

Three Airmen, Staff Sgt. William Bush, Staff Sgt. Dennis Turbyfill, and Staff Sgt. Robert Stiles, were grateful to have this unique window of opportunity. It’s not often in his/her career that an Airman has the opportunity to be promoted in a country that they may or may not ever travel to again. These Airmen will always be able to look back and say that they were promoted to the rank of Staff Sgt. in the European country of Latvia.

“Monday morning when we got to the job site here in Latvia I was called up for promotion, which was really cool because it is so rare to be promoted in another country,” said Staff Sgt. William Bush. “This will be a special memory that I’m always going to remember. It doesn’t happen this way very often and I’m grateful for the experience.”