WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
The 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing’s 718th Intelligence Squadron welcomed four of its mobilized Airmen home in April 2019.
Tech. Sgt. Katelynn Quinn, 718th IS imagery mission supervisor, Staff Sgts. Brittany Toennies and Kayla Harris, imagery analysts, were deployed to support Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel. Capt. Ian McNeil, assistant director of operations, was deployed to the African continent where he engaged in a variety of missions, including working to improve the lives of the local population.
The Airmen were greeted in the Valley of the Eagles by the 755th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group leadership and 718th IS members. The 497th ISRG morale dog, Sam, made an appearance as well.
The 718th’s deployment manager, Master Sgt. Alex Hernandez, made the transition home as smooth as possible, putting in extra work so that the Airmen could focus on rest and reintegration after months away from home under pressure in a combat zone.
“We understand the importance of spending quality time with family and close friends.” said Hernandez. “Our deployed members sacrifice enough of this quality time to serve and protect our country so we try and make the transition process before they deploy as well as when they return, as smooth and seamless as possible so they can get back to what is important to them. We couldn’t be more proud of their work.”
Throughout the course of their deployment, the three sergeants were consistently recognized for their professionalism and expertise. Their work ensuring mission success was briefed to the task force commander, and they were specifically highlighted by name due to their exceptional contributions.
Quinn was nominated for a Bronze Star and will be reporting to Officer Training School this summer to continue her career as an intelligence officer.
“Deploying was a major highlight of my military career. It was the ultimate environment to test my knowledge of the battle space and mental fortitude and performance under pressure. What I loved most about it was the up close and personal opportunities I encountered with strategic planning and decision making at every op tempo possible. I cannot wait to do it again,” Quinn said.
“It was an incredible experience to work in a joint environment with members of various branches and even individuals from other countries. Showing up as an Air Force reservist I didn't realize just how seamlessly we would come together to successfully complete the mission at hand, but we did. It was truly amazing and a one of a kind experience," Harris said.
The Joint Force Intelligence Officer-in-Charge Lt. Gen. “Sean” (first name removed) personally witnessed the outstanding work Toennies had accomplished while deployed.
“I witnessed firsthand as Sergeant Toennies labored above and beyond what was required of her in order to satisfy our commander's intent. She willfully worked longer hours than expected, accepted tedious tasks, and distinguished herself as a subject matter expert on high-visibility missions, said Lt. Gen. “Sean.” “Additionally, what set Toennies apart from her peers was the courage she demonstrated toward her fellow service members while upholding the integrity of the Air Force and the legacy of our military service. In my 19 years of service, I have seen few NCOs act as professionally and steadfast as she did during her time here. She simply stood up for what was right, because it was the right thing to do. There is no better example of what it means to be an NCO and I would consider it a privilege to have her in my ranks again.”
While deployed to improve the lives of the local population in Africa, Captain McNeil was there to help build additional classrooms for an overpopulated school. He coordinated with the 718th to conduct a supplies drive to support the school. Eight Langley area businesses contributed to the effort.
“The 718th’s donations provided much needed school supplies to roughly 150 kids ages 7-10. According to the teacher of that school, it would likely be enough to last the school for roughly 2 years,” McNeil said.
These achievements underscore the value that 718th IS airmen continue to bring to the fight, as well as the crucial role of Total Force Integration in the defense of our nation. The 718th IS is delighted to celebrate their safe return.
“I had a lot of faith in their abilities. We knew these were high-tempo, no-failure deployments and wanted to send our best analysts downrange. They were the right Airmen for the mission,”
Said Lt. Col. Brian Brooks, 718th IS commander.
The 655 Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing is dedicated to serving as the premier and most diverse ISR Group in the United States Air Force, delivering timely, reliable, accurate and actionable intelligence products enabling a decision advantage over adversaries of the United States. The 655th is an independent wing under 10th Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, and consists of two Groups and 14 intelligence squadrons (IS) across Ohio, California, Texas, Nebraska, Virginia, Florida and Maryland conducting 10 distinct missions. For exciting and rewarding career opportunities with the 655 ISRG, please contact your local Air Force Reserve recruiter or call 937-257-8117.