Combat trucker delivers crucial supplies downrange

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Life on the road doesn't come easy, especially when that means traversing the war-torn streets of Iraq. Yet each day, men and women of the 586th Air Expeditionary Group make the trip in and out of the country in order to deliver crucial supplies to their brothers and sisters in arms serving on the frontlines.

Airman 1st Class Anton Shevchenko, deployed from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., is a proud member of this elite team conducting line-haul convoy operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"As the transportation battalion, our job is one of the most important ones here," said the Kazakhstan native, who grew up in Lewisburg, Penn. "All of the tools and material needed to build and sustain the bases to include weapons, vehicles and aircraft parts we, as vehicle operators, transport."

A vehicle operator at his home station, Airman Shevchenko has spent the last two months of his deployment here working as a truck and trailer operator for the lead vehicle in a convoy.

"In the [U.S. Central Command area of responsibility] we transport a lot more cargo verses passengers [like we do stateside]," he said. "Also, we're on the road a lot more instead of just inspecting vehicles and performing preventative maintenance. I really enjoy going out on the missions here and working as a team to complete one goal."

The 2-year Air Force veteran said each day in the AOR seems like a new adventure, which is something he enjoys.

"Depending on the mission, the days may differ," he said. "One day I might be inspecting and performing minor maintenance on the trucks and on the next day I'm on the road transporting cargo from one base to another."

As with any challenge he faces, Airman Shevchenko said he tries to push himself each day, giving each mission 100 percent.

"Whenever I perform a job, I try to give all I have," he said. "I firmly believe the Air Force provides all the tools you need to be successful in this career field. All I need to do is try my best."

With this being his first deployment, Airman Shevchenko admitted he wasn't sure just how challenging it was going to be. All he knew is that it wasn't going to be easy and he needed to go into the deployment with a positive attitude.

"Deployments are not easy, but I know they are necessary and we are here for a reason," he said. "We are protecting and defending our country and I feel really good about it. I just try to enjoy every moment of my time here and try to learn valuable things that I can use in the future."

When Airman Shevchenko isn't going out on missions, the recent senior airman below-the-zone selectee spends his time studying the professional development guide and his career development course; or unwinding by watching movies, playing video games and working out.

"It helps pass the time when I do things that relax me," he said. "This way I don't spend all my time thinking about my family and friends back home."

As OIF and his time here on line-haul convoy missions wind down, Airman Shevchenko said he plans to make the most of his remaining time in the AOR, taking back with him lessons learned for the next time he must travel downrange.

"I've learned a lot of valuable lessons that will help me in the future," he said. "This has been a great experience."