Updated: September 08, 2021 06:37 PM
Created: September 08, 2021 04:51 PM
"It's hard to believe it's been 20 years," Chief Master Sgt. Mark Wasserbauer shared while at the base last week. "When those events happened, it basically changed my whole career path."
On that fateful day, September 11th, 2001, he had been working for Honeywell in New Mexico.
"I stepped out of my office and walked down the hall, and saw all the stuff on the TV with the twin towers. I saw the second aircraft plow into the side of the tower," he recalled.
He was a member of the 148th as a traditional guardsman, so he called up to the base. They didn't need him to come up at that minute.
But he said by November 1st, the whole wing was basically activated. And they were doing combat air patrols all across the country. "We were providing support down in Crawford, Texas, and Langley, Virginia, for 3-4 months straight," he said.
Then it was missions overseas. Including the first aviation deployment to Iraq. "The schedule in 2005, we were getting mortared on a daily basis down there," he said.
A scary time, especially for families worrying and waiting back home. For example, he estimates he only called home about three times during a nearly 6 month tour in 2005.
"My wife has gone through a lot with the deployments. And now we have a 10-year-old, and she has gone through some of that too. And it hasn't really stopped since all that happened."
He's beyond grateful for her support, and for the support of resources at the wing. Especially since they've lost a few members over the years.
"It's a strong family culture. It's one of the greatest places to have a job. I've been really fortunate in my career."
A decorated career, including First Sgt. of the Year in 2006, for the entire Air National Guard.
He now manages the airfiedl and is the operations group chief. Which means he's taking care of people, and the planes, and his country. a country forever changed by 9/11.
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