Skip to comments.Airmen brighten Afghan boy's day by fulfilling simple request
Posted on 11/24/2009 3:42:11 PM PST by SandRat
11/24/2009 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- Capt. Marian Collins' third deployment to Afghanistan in October became her most rewarding one. Not because of any medal earned or battle fought, but because she reached out to an Afghan youth whose gratitude gave added meaning to her team's mission.
Captain Collins, the assistant director of operations for the 571st Global Mobility Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., was deployed to Shindand, Afghanistan, to restore a 1960s-era airfield to accommodate air mobility operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
While deployed, her desire to help others inspired her to bring candy, cookies and water to some local Afghan children, she said. Captain Collins and other team members gathered donations from fellow deployed Airmen and they set out to offer the treats to any Afghan children in the area.
As they followed the base's perimeter fence, they didn't see any children until reaching the end, Captain Collins said. There, they found an Afghan boy standing with some goats just outside the fence.
Coincidentally one of her teammates, Agent Keivan, was able to speak and interpret the local language. Agent Keivan, who's full name is withheld for security reasons, was deployed for his sixth time to Afghanistan as an Air Force Office of Special Investigations Contingency Response Team member. As he spoke with the boy, Captain Collins wondered why the boy didn't seem happier to be getting the candy and cookies.
"The boy was grateful, but he asked for school supplies instead for himself and his sisters, so they could attend school," Agent Keivan said. "Captain Collins promised to bring some back to him."
Agent Keivan, Captain Collins and other team members then began looking for school supplies back at the base.
CRTs often deploy to open a new air base or to expand air mobility operations at existing ones. The expeditionary nature of CRTs sometimes doesn't allow for much luxury or surplus supplies.
"There's no (base exchange store) at forward operating bases like this where we typically deploy, so we had to scrounge up whatever we could find," Agent Keivan said.
Within 24 hours, they had gathered several notebooks, pens, pencils and other items they hoped would help the 16-year-old goat herder and his four older sisters.
"We brought him the school supplies the following day, and the boy looked amazed that we came back, Captain Collins said. Although Agent Keivan could not be there to interpret, I could tell he was saying thank you again and again,"Captain Collins said. "He was much happier than when we brought the candy and cookies."
The experience was her most rewarding during a deployment, despite two previous deployments to Afghanistan and two other deployments to Iraq, Captain Collins said.
"It was the best I'd ever felt while deployed," she said. "I missed my daughter's birthday during this deployment, but being able to help another child really felt good."
o-bow-man is really, really pissed, he was not the center of attention and missed another phony photo-op.