28 IS Airman reflects on first deployment

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jose Lopez-Fornes, 28th Intelligence Squadron
  • 655th ISR Wing Public Affairs

The 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Wing’s 28th Intelligence Squadron continues supporting the fight alongside their active duty counterparts. Tactical Systems Operators (TSOs), with a specialty code of 1A8X2, deploy as fully integrated flight crew members to execute airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. TSOs provide airborne precision geolocation, real-time battlefield awareness updates, direct threat warning, and command and control (C2) relay capabilities to Air Force Special Operations Command.

TSOs are airborne intelligence operators who are qualified to fly on all light fixed wing aircraft within the AFSOC inventory, and are also able to quickly plug and play on emerging tactical assets through quick field installations of a variety of carry-on systems.

28 IS TSO Senior Airman Joslyn Williams is one of the first-time deployers from the squadron. As a first time deployer, Williams has effectively balanced her civilian life with her reserve duty as she deployed for six months down range.

“I learned a lot from both active duty and Reserve Airmen who looked out for me during my first 6-month deployment,” Williams said. “Being a reservist provided me a great level of flexibility as I’m able to choose when I want to go on Active Duty orders.”

Williams’ commander has high praises for her first deployment opportunity.

“Senior Airman Williams is a perfect example of our Citizen Airmen who join the Reserve to support their country, contribute to the mission, and work towards a college degree or civilian profession when not performing military duty. She excelled during her first six month deployment, continues to excel in her duties in the squadron, and is now on her second deployment down range,” said Lt. Col. Elisabeth Applegate, 28 IS commander.

When asked how she felt about being a reservist and part of the 28 IS, Williams replied, “It has felt like being part of a family. I’ve never doubted that the unit would do what’s best for me, regardless of the situation I may be going through,” Williams said.

“TSOs from the 28th fully integrate in the active duty mission and with the active duty aircrews. There is no way to determine a Reserve TSO from an Active Duty TSO, both complete identical training programs and maintain identical qualifications and certifications. Senior Airman Williams’ contributions have played a huge role in the success of AFRC’s (Air Force Reserve Command’s) only airborne TSO squadron,” said Lt. Col. Applegate.