Airman hopes to make impact during deployment

  • Published
  • By U.S. Central Command Air Forces Public Affairs
  • Combined Air and Space Operations Center, Southwest Asia
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason Colbert of Pomona, Calif., is currently serving as a weapons systems video specialist at the Central Air Forces Combined Air Operations Center here.

"I take aircraft intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance video and prepare it for public release to the media," he said. I also prepare video for senior officer briefings and battle damage assessments,"

The 2001 Claremont High School graduate is serving a four-month tour at the CAOC supporting Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

"I initially joined the Air Force for the educational benefits," said the 24-year-old. "I stayed because I found life in the service fulfilling and provides stable ground for my wife and I to build a business."

Sergeant Colbert is married with an 18-month-old daughter. He is stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

The CAOC became fully operational in February 2003. It stands as the only war fighting coalition operations center of its kind currently in Southwest Asia.

Servicemembers from different nations, including the U.S., Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Singapore, work side-by-side, planning and executing operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. They also support Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

"When I walked through the doors of the CAOC, my first impression was 'this is going to be fun,'" said the five-year veteran. "This is a busy place and in the center of the action. I felt like I could have an impact here."

On an average day, the center supports about 70 combat sorties, 30 combat support sorties, 140 airlift sorties and 40 tanker sorties. Many of these sorties provide protection to coalition ground forces, support ground force operations and help deter attacks on people and infrastructure in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"I've witnessed many innovations introduced by Airmen that help us make the most of our time and resources," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne after a visit to the CAOC. "We are able to run operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa from a single [location]. This centralized headquarters equates to a smaller headquarters staff, while simultaneously empowering the Airmen actually engaged to make the execution decisions."