Warren SNCO epitomizes ‘Service Before Self’

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Torri Savarese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
"I'm just looking forward to getting back to work," said Master Sgt. Christopher Irving, 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron, after returning home from a 421-day deployment to the Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan.

As part of a joint team, Irving served with members of the 143rd Infantry Division, Air Force Engineers, State Department and Civil Affairs units. All of the units were working toward rebuilding infrastructures in the area.

"I learned a lot about governance and reintegration," Irving added. "I'd never worked with outside agencies before, and it was interesting learning the piece other government agencies bring to the fight."

Along with his support role in the command element, Irving was also tasked with mission planning and partnering with his Army counterpart.

"We would get together each night during our con ops briefing, looking over routes and objectives, to plan future missions," he said.

Irving also provided personal security detail for his unit commander, who was involved in a reintegration program for the area. The program engages Taliban fighters, encouraging them to lay down their arms and reintegrate with the government. There were more than 25 district centers focused on engaging the Taliban fighters.

"My commander engaged in direct talks with Taliban commanders, and I provided security for him during these meetings," Irving explained.

During his deployment, Irving accomplished 320 outside-the-wire missions. One, in particular, stood out in his mind.

"We were on a mission to one of the DC's and I just felt like something was wrong," he said. "When we crested the hill, I called the convoy to a halt. Sure enough, there was an IED in the road ahead of us. We were able to establish a cordon and get the IED neutralized without sustaining any casualties."

This wasn't Irving's first deployment. He has served a total of 987 days in-country.

"I guess sometimes you just get a sixth sense about things when you've been there for so long," he mused.

Irving also served as a pay agent during his deployment, closing out 16 contracts for schools, clinics and district centers. His primary job afforded him more than 750 hours of direct maintenance on the vehicles, as well as championing several life-saving measures to better equip combat vehicles.

"We didn't lose anybody," he added. "We traveled more than 13,000 total miles with zero accidents, and that includes the pre-deployment training at Camp Atterbury, Ind."

Although Irving is looking forward to his role at F. E. Warren, he has strong ties to the Soldiers and Airmen he was deployed with.

"After 421 days, that group of people became family," he said. "It was really nice to be with a group of motivated warriors, and I'm just happy that everybody came home safely."

Irving's efforts earned him a Bronze Star, as well as recognition as Air Force Global Strike Command LRS Senior NCO of the year. He will go on to compete at the Air Force level.