During the last 10 years I have supported our war on terrorism with four deployments as an airline and military reserve pilot. As a regional pilot, immediately following 9/11, I was called out of the army’s Individual Ready Reserve to active duty to join the 101st Airborne Division as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot. The following year we were the initial troops deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. After my tour, I joined the Georgia Army National Guard in 2003, then was mobilized a second time for Operation Iraqi Freedom II, flying out of Camp Buehring, Kuwait, in 2004–2005. I then returned to the airlines and was hired by AirTran in March 2006. In keeping with my true patriotic heart, I was then mobilized as a C-26 Metroliner pilot to Djibouti, Africa, in support of the Joint Task Force Horn of Africa in 2006–2007. Since then, I have been on active duty as an evaluator and mentor of the National Guard Bureau’s Aviation Training and Assistance Team, visiting National Guard Aviation units all across the United States and preparing their Aviation Safety Programs for overseas deployments and operations. I am currently on my fourth deployment near Tikrit, Iraq, at COB Speicher for Operation New Dawn as a Blackhawk pilot. From beginning to end, I have supported America’s efforts here in Iraq and abroad and am very proud of the support and appreciation of the American people and AirTran.

First Officer Robert Negron, AirTran