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AFCENT Command Chief joins on humanitarian assistance mission
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - Chief Master Sgt. Mark Villella, Air Forces Central Command Chief, speaks with Chief Master Sgt. James Lucas, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, while shopping for school furniture Sept. 15. Chief Villella went on a Humanitarian Assistance mission with Airmen from the Transit Center at Manas and assisted in donating $10,000 worth of furniture for Marble Village Kindergarten. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathan Bevier)
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AFCENT's senior enlisted leader shares in a humanitarian mission during Transit Center visit

Posted 9/20/2010   Updated 9/20/2010 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Buzanowski
376th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

9/20/2010 - TRANSIT CENTER AT MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- The U.S. Air Forces Central Command's ranking enlisted leader made his second-ever trip to the Transit Center specifically to experience the humanitarian assistance mission here.

Command Chief Master Sgt. Mark Villella, joined other Airmen including the wing's own command chief in purchasing and delivering $10,000 in school furniture for Marble Village Kindergarten. "Not every Airman will leave their deployment with a medal, but for those who are involved in humanitarian assistance here they get something better - of even more value," said the AFCENT command chief.

Tech. Sgt. Candis Winslow, who served as the mission's financial officer, said she was glad to have the Chief on the trip. "I think it's important for him to see what we do and how it affects the people of Kyrgyzstan. All of the humanitarian assistance missions I have been able to participate in have stuck in my head. Absolutely every Airman assigned here should go on an HA mission - it will make them appreciate the things we take for granted living in America."

For another sergeant serving in the 376th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, she said the hospitable nature of this country is very touching. "Having the Chiefs accompany us on this HA mission was a great experience," said Staff Sgt. Katie Blair.

"The one thing that stuck while on the HA mission with both Chief Lucas and Chief Viellella is that one helping hand can change a lifetime of memories and build an everlasting friendship. The true joy is seeing the faces of the children -- now that's what matters. No matter what, they are always smiling," said Sergeant Blair.

Chief Master Sgt. James Lucas, the Transit Center's Command Chief since October, said "I could not be more proud to serve alongside the men and women of the Transit Center at Manas and I know Chief Viellella feels exactly the same. The chief was extremely impressed by our Airmen's professionalism in their traditional Air Force roles; and, as was highlighted on this particular visit, the incredible manner in which the Manas Airmen have positively impacted their host nation community. Whether it is building schools, volunteering time at the children's hospital or lending a hand in a local village, the compassionate spirit of the Airmen of the Manas Transit Center is a source of pride for all of us."

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