I just got back from my first deployment. I was notified four days before I ended up leaving. The member who was tasked originally fell out last minute, so I volunteered for the deployment. Going ended up being the best thing to happen in my career. I have always been on the personnelist side of the Air Force, so I have never seen the operational side. Before going I had hardly seen aircraft or spoken to pilots. I did my job while I was deployed, but I was able to do so much else outside of it that I still have a hard time comprehending it. I got to fly, be a loadmaster, and do exercises with the pararescuemen. I was able to see what we are doing out there and it makes you take some pride in being in the Air Force. Before going on this deployment I planned on going to the Reserve and then getting out. Now I plan on staying in and want to retire from the service someday. I’m grateful I was able to go and it was amazing to see what we are really doing. Given the chance to go back, I would do it again in a heartbeat.