Deployed Holloman Airmen live, eat and sleep on a hill the base calls Wolf Pack Pack, but they call it 'Home Sweet Home'

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Stephen Collier
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
They get up in the morning like any other Wolf Pack member. They shower, they brush their teeth, they put on a pressed uniform and out the door they go. The only difference: that door opens to a view overlooking the entire base.

The men and women of the 9th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, who deployed here in early January, have integrated into every part of Wolf Pack, 8th Fighter Wing society. From the meals at the O'Malley Dining Facility to sharing a few drinks at the Loring Club on a Friday night, these Airmen deployed here from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. do it all.

But without any extra dormitory space, these Airmen live off in the distance, never seen from the base until they leave the hill.

"One of the biggest challenges [for the Airmen] is making their house a home," said Master Sgt. Michael Parkinson, deployed 'mayor' of Wolf Pack Park. "It's interesting to see the different way individuals go about putting a personal touch to their living quarters. Some don't mind living in an open bay, but others go to extremes for their privacy. You can definitely see who the nesters are among us."

And other not-so-homely challenges face the deployed forces as well. As the seasons change from the bitter cold temperatures of winter to the luke-warm winds of spring, the Airmen have an easier time traveling to and from the community restrooms and showers.

But during the early days of the deployment, now going into its third month, Airmen had to bundle up for the several-hundred feet walk just to take a shower.

"Everyone knew going into the deployment it wasn't going to be easy," Sergeant Parkinson added. "Kunsan's reputation of being a remote assignment is something that doesn't go away easily. The Wolf Pack greeted us with smiles and a 'can do' attitude like I've never seen before. I was mentally prepared to deal with difficult people and situations, but, thankfully, I was wrong."

Several preparations were made at the last minute to ease the transition from comfy dorm rooms and homes located in the Tularosa Basin of New Mexico to more frigid winter temperatures of northeast Asia.

The 8th Civil Engineer Squadron went through each southeast Asia, or 'SEA' hut, adding installation foam to the walls and ceiling to help keep in the heat.

"To be honest, we were a little worried about the cold," Sergeant Parkinson admitted. "Then the Wolf Pack [8th CES] Red Devils stepped up to the plate. Civil engineering worked with a contractor to expeditiously install insulation to every hut. Now the huts are very comfortable and provide an outstanding living environment."

Deployed conditions at locations throughout southwest Asia, Iraq and Afghanistan can be austere, but Kunsan has been supporting fighter wing missions since the 1960s. Accepting additional units is one of the legacies here, and that support continues today. The Holloman Airmen have four high-speed internet phone lines installed to make invaluable morale calls back to family, friends and loved ones. Two televisions with cable can also be found within the Park's 'morale tent,' giving the Holloman Airmen, according to Sergeant Parkinson "a place where people can kick back" after a hard day's work.

"Between the watching the (American Forces Network) commercials and movies as well as playing video games, it's not as bad," he said. "All in all, everyone [base-wide] has pitched in a lending hand to make our time here a little better."

Finally, the deployed Airmen have one thing in common with the rest of the Pack: everyone is welcome to the Park with open arms to enjoy their den on the weekends.