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NEWS | Sept. 22, 2010

Warrior of the Week – Senior Airman Derek Fisher

By Staff Sgt. Daniel Bowles Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Senior Airman Derek Fisher is a member of the 437th Operations Support Squadron and has been stationed at Joint Base Charleston since 2007. He is currently serving in the Middle East with the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron on his second deployment.

In his deployed unit, Airman Fisher works as a journeyman in the aircrew flight equipment career field and works as an AFE flightline supervisor. His daily duties include keeping up with time sensitive inspections on aircrew equipment such as the HGU-55/P Fliers helmet, MBU-12/P oxygen mask, AN/AVS-9 night vision goggles, Combat Survivor Evader Locator Radio, and all of the survival equipment which is pre-positioned on aircraft.

"Compared with being in the United States there isn't a whole lot of difference in my eyes. My job is identical, but on a smaller scale with a higher ops tempo," he said. "Other than that, for me it is an adventure experiencing new sights and interacting with people deployed from many different bases working in many different roles."

For Airman Fisher, some of those interactions include working closely with Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists. Together, they work to properly equip aircrews should they be forced to land in hostile or dangerous terrain - but dangers exist in the sky as well. In the event of certain in-flight emergencies, the proper maintenance of AFE equipment can mean the difference between a successful mission and a fatal crash.

"The purpose of my job is to ensure that the aircrew will have the best chance at surviving an in-flight emergency that would cause either a loss of aircraft oxygen, or an emergency landing in various terrains," he said.

This "warrior of the week" hails from Green Bay, Wis., and entered active-duty service in 2007 after a year in the Delayed Enlistment Program to finish his college school year. His current goal is to retrain into the explosive ordinance disposal career field, as well as complete his associate's degree in Weapons of Mass Destruction Preparedness.

From there, Airman Fisher plans to move on to a bachelor's degree in Emergency Management. Other long-term goals include starting a family in the next few years and eventually earning a commission.

According to Tech. Sgt. Gregory Currey, NCO in charge of deployed aircrew flight equipment operations for the 817 EAS, Airman Fisher's selection to deploy came as an unexpected yet fortunate addition to the deployed AFE team.

"Airman Fisher was a last minute change due to a last minute manning shift. It shows that the correct person was chosen. He has done excellent work for the AFE shop and the rest of the squadron," he said. "The most memorable moment so far was when he was told he was selected to join the noncommissioned officer ranks ... the look on his face when the commander handed him staff sergeant chevrons with his line number on them was priceless."