Pinning on the right way ... in combat

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Troy Smith
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Maintenance Group
I write this article a humbled man. I am humbled to say that today I have been given the distinct honor to be promoted, once again, in combat.

As I sit at my promotion ceremony, in nervous anticipation of being "pinned on", it's giving me time to reflect on my previous 16 years in the military and my previous promotions. The one thought that stands out most in my mind is the fact that from "pinning on" airman first class to today's promotion, each stripe I've earned has been "pinned on" in a combat zone.

This tradition started with "pinning on" airman first class and senior airman while engaged in Operations Provide Comfort I and II, then I "pinned on" staff sergeant with a permanent change of station to Turkey while supporting Operation Northern Watch.

The tradition continued with technical sergeant technical sergeant while taking the fight to the enemy during Operation Iraqi Freedom. And finally, my promotion to master sergeant comes while fighting the Global War on Terror in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Like many of my peers, my entire service has been spent preparing for, executing and recovering from combat operations. As I reflect on my career thinking about the past promotions, I also think about the many sacrifices my wife and kids have made for our Air Force, the life-long friends I've gained, the commitment to mission I've seen and dedication to our county that surpasses all. Combine all of this with the opportunities to both lead and follow, I'm humbled and honored to serve in the 81st Aircraft Maintenance Unit and receive my promotion, with this unit, in combat!