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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I promised to tell you guys a little about my trip when I got back and show some pics, but have been real busy since I returned.  Here is an article that my hometown newspaper did up, so I will just post that rather than re-typing everything.  I hope to get some pics on here soon, but my scanner is acting up.  I will get some pics on here asap though...  There are parts of the article that I don;t realy like because the guy only put bits and pieces of what I said down and made it sound like I was tooting my own horn when that wasn't really what I said.
  Other than that though, I hope you guys find it interesting.


"Park Rapids graduate has already been to Afghanistan and back




BY Allen Undem, THE ENTERPRISE March 01, 2002




     When the second and third planes crashed Sept. 11, Trevor Smart felt sure his unit would be deployed.
     About two minutes after the crashes President Bush ordered the Air Force to "threat con-Charlie" status. A few minutes later the alert status was bumped to the highest level "threat-con Delta."
     Senior Airman Smart was (and is) stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base attached to a refueling and supply squadron. "We didn't know where we would be going," he said, "but I knew we'd be going somewhere. I was the first one to raise my hand and volunteer for the mission.
     "I'm young, dumb and invincible, so I wasn't scared," he continued. "I'd call it curious, not scared. We didn't know where we would be going or what we would find when we got there."

Off to the Middle East
     About 10 days later he was on his way to the Middle East. His unit deployed Sept. 21 and left Jan. 28. The Park Rapids Area High School graduate didn't end up in Afghanistan, but arrived at a quickly built base in a nearby country. He said he can't disclose exactly where he was. For security reasons and for sensitive diplomatic reasons, the military does not advertise exact locations of its bases or personnel. "Many natives in the area didn't even know we were there," he said.
     Smart said he didn't know what to expect when their plane landed, but he thought there would be a more equipped installation than what they found.
     The "base" was no more than a landing strip and one dilapidated school filled with bunks and cots. Their first job was to pitch tents where the airmen would live for the next few months, then to throw up some pre-fab metal buildings for supply storage and offices. Once wired for computers and communications they were fast at work.
     The duty of the supply squadron was mainly to refuel US jets - bombers, fighters and other aircraft - while airborne from the unit's fleet of KC-135 transport jets. The craft originally served as passenger jets in the 1950s and 1960s before the Air Force revamped them. The supply depot at the new base contained virtually every part that might be needed to keep the fleet functional and air-worthy.
     Smart's job dealt with ordering and storing the inventory of parts and equipment and filling requisitions for parts that mechanics and engineers needed for repairs.

Mission: refuel jets in the air
     Smart didn't actually participate in the refueling missions but rode along a few times. The KC-135 pilot positions the aircraft directly above the jet to be refueled while a boom operator uses a joystick to manipulate the "gas hose," locking it to the female coupling on the jet to be fueled. "It's not as difficult or complicated as you might think," Smart said. "But it requires steady hands and sharp eyes of the two pilots and the boom operator."
     President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld haven't asked Smart for recommendations but the young airman does have opinions.
     "I'm sure we'll find him," Smart said, referring to Osama bin Laden. It would be pointless not to; we're too committed not to get him. The question is, what do we do next? He's not the only terrorist over there."
     During his tour, the base received several bomb threats from local civilians. On the rare trips downtown (wherever that was) the Hard Rock CafŽ, a popular gathering spot for young people, was off limits to US military in an effort to avoid confrontations.
     "But for the most part, people were great. They welcomed us and were real friendly. We worked hand-in-hand with their military and civilians. They were glad we were there," he said.
     Smart said natives were very curious about the US and the American lifestyle. He said they were also interested in knowing what the soldiers and airmen thought about them and about their religion.
     The lack of rights afforded to women was obvious. "But it's not as bad where we were as it is in Saudi Arabia," he said.
     Unlike some photographs often portrayed by the US media, Smart said the landscape he saw would not be considered beautiful. "It was barren, either too hot or too cold, and completely without vegetation," he said. "It was very gloomy."

USO shows were great
     Highlights on the trip were shows and visits by entertainers and other celebrities. Jay Leno brought his cast and crew and produced their show a couple of days from the base. Smart scored something of a coup, as Leno would only scribble his name on autographed photos for everyone else, but Trevor talked him into personalizing a photo to his mother-in-law Laurie Schmidt, a long-time fan of the popular entertainer.
     "The USO shows were great," he said. Among celebrities Smart saw were the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleaders, Chris Isaac, "Cedric the Entertainer," Cheryl Ladd, a star he didn't recognize from the soap opera "One Life to Live," and Dwight Yokum. He was also impressed by visits from Air Force brass, including four-star general John Jumper.
     Smart considers his tour in the Middle East a privilege - to serve his country and to put his newly learned skills to use.
     "This is what we were trained for. This is why I joined the military," the airman said. "If we're not deployed in a hostile situation; if we're not at war, everything else we do - all the training, education, drills - is just practice."
     "If the opportunity came up, I'd go again," he said.
     While he was deployed a C-130 went down over Pakistan (in an mechanical failure accident), killing eight airmen.
     "I knew most of those guys," Smart said. "They flew out of our base."
     He said sometimes the days got long and boring. "We get in a routine. We're missing home and we can lose sight of why we're there," he said. "Then something like that happens it's like a slap in the face. It was a reminder of why we were there; and a reminder not to get in a routine but stay keen at all times."
     Smart's connection to the Air Force is not a short-term enlistment; he's at the beginning of a career. His plan is to serve 20 years, retiring at age 38. During that time he plans to get trained at the OSI. "It's an elite investigative and law enforcement agency," he says, "like an Air Force FBI."

Fulfilling dreams
     Following retirement, he hopes his training will open the doors to a job with the FBI, CIA or another federal security agency. "Since I was a little kid I wanted to be in the military or the FBI," he says. "This way I'll be able to fulfill both of my dreams."
     Bubbling with enthusiasm, the young airman is proud to serve his country. "I love the military," he says. "I can't see myself doing anything else. The benefits, respect and the treatment we get are top notch."
     Smart is the son of Dr. Tracy and Donna Smart of Park Rapids. He and his wife, Jennie, the daughter of Laurie and Brent Schmidt of Park Rapids, were married in 1999 and live in Grand Forks.




©Park Rapids Enterprise 2002  "
 

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I agree with Paul, you are a real life hero, not some superstar rakin in the millions. Thanks for the service from your neighbor to the north
 
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys, but I am not a hero.  The real hero's are the policemen and firefighters that were down there pulling people from the rubble and cleaning up NY, the pilots and crew of the C-130 that went down while heading to afghanistan to drop goods to the women and children there, all those that gave their lives while trying to save people at "ground zero", and the men and women aboard the last plane that crash landed before they could fly it into another building.  They are the real hero's.  I don't deserve the same title as those people and don't think that work should be taken lightly. I was merely doing my job. See, that is what I don't like about the article; the guy made it sound like I was trying to sound like a "hero".....
Thanks though guys.
 

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I agree that those people are heros as well, but you did your part as well. You went over there, left your family and friends behind, to defend your country against these animals that have no compassion for human life. Everybody that went over there is a hero, no matter what his or her job was. Firefighters and policeman only started getting noticed as heroes after the attack. It shouldn't of took such a horrible catastrope to learn that these ordinary people do so much for us.Sure it is their job but it is a job, just like the military, where your life is on the line everyday to protect the citizens of your country. If it wasn't for people like you , this world would be a complete mess. Thank you.
 

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phazerhater,
 now that i know that you didn't get your picture in people magazine with mariah carey and jennifer lopez knowing those two were in the area i feel for you.  
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have some pics of a refueling I can post also if you want.  I have just been procrastinating digging out the pictures and scanning them..
  If you want to see them though I will look for them tomorrow.
 

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phazerhater,
 for sure post them they would be TOP GUN i can't wait.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It actualy is just like in the movies.  Kinda hard to "fake" a refueling...haha  I will look tonight for them.  If I don't find them tonight I will post them when I get back from my sledding trip.  Heading to MN tonight to do some riding and will get back Wed. night.

Maybe I will be able to get more than 100 miles on this season after all!!
 

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Trev, I wanted to ask you that stuff over the phone, but I didn't think you wanted to be bothered with it again......and again...I'm sure it gets a little tireing....I would think anyway.

I'm frekin proud of you-even before any of this 9/11 stuff happened. Believe me, I was GLAD to know you were there-or atleast in the area.

If I didn't already tell ya, good job Trev!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ow shucks boss...*blush*blush*  If you have any questions, feel free to ask.  I will repeat myself for you guys.;)
Did you get my email on the communicator??
 

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Yeah I did. I forgot to e-mail back about it. I will e-mail you about it later.
 
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