Our Best: Tech. Sgt. Nicole Wrisley
With security forces being the largest career field in the Air Force and the many locations to be deployed, what are the odds of deploying to the same base twice?
While there is no actual statistic, there is at least one 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces sergeant who has been to Joint Base Balad, Iraq, twice.
Tech. Sgt. Nicole Wrisley, 332nd ESFS area supervisor, arrived at JBB in August for the second time.
“When I found out I was going to JBB again, I was excited because I knew the base and I had never been part of closing a base,” said Wrisley, who is deployed from Beale Air Force Base, Calif. “I also started some programs the last time I was here so I wanted to see how they evolved.”
In 2009, Wrisley was deployed to JBB with what was then called the 532nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron to maintain quality assurance for the Iraqi and Ugandan security contracts.
“Balad was like a metropolis, anything you needed, you could get at Balad,” said the Greenfield, Mass., native. “With the theater, pool and restaurants, it didn’t feel like you were deployed. JBB used to be a major stop over point for convoys so there were a lot of people here.”
Compared to her last deployment, Wrisley says it looks emptier.
“I like the attitude though,” she said. “Everyone understands the base is closing, everyone has resigned to this is not going to Balad and there are going to be changes. We expect what’s coming all in good nature.”
As a result of the drawdown, there are more opportunities at JBB.
“Last time all I did was security forces, but now there are more things to do here that normally would not be an option for me,” said Wrisley. “There are more job-related opportunities, but there’s also more volunteer opportunities and things to do outside of my [Air Force Specialty Code].”
“What you are doing today, you may not be doing tomorrow,” she continued. “It’s always something different.”
Throughout both deployments, Wrisley says she enjoys working with the Ugandan and Iraqi nationals.
“The Ugandans are the most hardworking and respectful people I’ve worked with,” she said. “I see what they are doing and they are impressive people.”
“The Iraqis have worked so hard, they are such brave people, it’s humbling,” she continued. “Looking back at our history when our country was building up, it reminds me of where the Iraqis are now. I salute the Iraqis that have helped us here and I am hopeful for their future.”
Story by Senior Airman Amber Kelly-Herard
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