Alice* was an Air Force Liaison Officer in Kuwait while working at Army Central Command. Air Force military personnel are regularly loaned out to the Army for various deployment requirements. Having an officer to help facilitate discussion between the Air Force and Army is an important role being played by officers. Here is her story.
Rank during deployment:
Lt Col (O-5)
Branch of Service:
Current rank/current job if you have left the military:
I have left the military and am now part a civilian working for the Air Force.
Where did you deploy to?
I deployed to Camp Arifjan, located in Kuwait.
What was you or your team’s mission?
My teams mission was to facilitate connections between Air Force Central Command (AFCENT) and Army Central Command (ARCENT).
Can you explain what this means on a more general level?
I was a liaison officer for the Air Force at ARCENT. ARCENT is resourced, postured, and prepared to prevent conflict, preserve stability, shape the area to the benefit of the U.S., and successfully negotiate future contingencies. AFCENT is responsible for air operations, either unilaterally or in concert with coalition partners, and for developing contingency plans in support of national objectives for CENTCOM’s 20-nation AOR in Southwest Asia.
What was your job as a liaison officer?
As an AFCENT LNO I was tasked to form a working relationship between AFCENT and ARCENT for both our organizations benefits. The Army and Air Force continually work together to meet mission requirements. And without a good relationship many missions would not be successful.
What cultural differences do you remember between the country you went to and the United States?
As an Air Force liaison officer embedded with the Army in another country, I saw two sets of cultural differences. Speaking to the differences with Kuwait, I now have a greater appreciation for the religious freedom we enjoy in America. My job did not involve regular contact with the local population, but when working with others who did, I gained a better appreciation for the diversity of the US military. I know they exist, but I did not meet a single female Kuwaiti military member. I do admire the Army’s team for ensuring their own engagement teams maintained diversity.
What landscape differences do you remember between the country you went to and the United States?
There is more sand than the desert southwest. There are more oil pumps than Houston. And there is more trash than after “camping season” than on the National mall following the 4th of July concert.
Were there any particular foods that you ate while overseas that was different from the United States?
Given the opportunity to escape the base, we had a favorite Lebanese place and a favorite Indian place.
What was the hardest thing you faced with the cultural difference in the country you were deployed to?
I found it perplexing that US women were required to wear long sleeves and long pants off-post, but the local women’s garb ranged from shorts and tanks to full burka.
As a female, do you remember being treated differently because of your sex, explain?
Only when travelling off post. See comment above.
What is the one thing you remember most from your deployment?
The camaraderie with the other women on my wing of Containerize Housing Units (CHUs)
Is there a memory or story from your deployment you want to share?
The ladies on our wing of CHUs thought we needed to brighten things up a little. So, we ordered solar powered lights from Amazon. We strung them across our open topped walkway between the CHUs. A couple of us found kiddie pools off base. We then initiated a weekly pool party. Bring Your Own Beverage (BYOB) and Bring Your Own Chair (BYOC) to cool off your toes while swapping stories from work/home/deployments past/etc.
This is day 25 of 31 Days of Deployment Stories. Here is a link to the whole series. Yesterday I shared a what it was like to be deployed to Southwest Asia. Tomorrow I will share my last spouse spotlight: Your Husband Has Never Deployed Before? Don’t miss a post. Join my weekly email list here.
*Name changed for privacy