Here is a question and answer profile interview with Tech. Sgt. Mark Ondersma, one of our own Michigan National Guardsmen currently deployed to southwest Asia with the 368th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron. This is a great way to put a face and name to the outstanding work the Michigan National Guard is doing across the globe.
Rank and Name
Tech. Sgt. Mark Ondersma
386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron / Heavy Equipment Shop
Pavement and Equipment Operator
110th Civil Engineer Squadron, Battle Creek Air National Guard, Mich.
Family’s military heritage
Father, 23 years in the Air National Guard retired as a master sergeant.
What is your mission here?
Maintain roads, grounds and airfields. Assist other shops and units to improve the base infrastructure. Keep accountability of all civil engineer vehicles.
What are some of the best parts of your mission?
Teaching airmen new skills and helping them to accomplish the mission.
What are some of the challenges you face while conducting your mission, and how do you overcome them?
Being a “Dirt Boy” you never know what kind of job is going to come up; it could be anything from digging up a water main break to building new bunkers for the base. I overcome these challenges by relying on my Airmen and their training to help accomplish mission essential jobs.
How does your job differ in a deployed environment vs. home base?
There are a lot more responsibilities here in a deployed location. We are responsible for the runways, taxi ways, bunkers and sand removal which we are not responsible for at home station.
How many times have you deployed?
This is my third deployment.
What makes this deployment unique?
This deployment is unique because on previous deployments I was an airman. Now that I am a technical sergeant I am responsible for projects and the supervision of Airmen in upgrade training.
Why did you join the Air Force?
I joined the Air Force so I could serve my country and learn new job skills.
Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Marelise Wood
Photo Caption: Tech. Sgt. Mark Ondersma is a pavement and equipment operator at the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, undisclosed location, Southwest Asia. He is responsible for maintaining the roads, grounds and airfields of the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing. Ondersma, a native of Byron Center, Mich., is on his third deployment. He is deployed from the 110th Civil Engineer Squadron, Michigan Air National Guard, Battle Creek, Mich. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Marelise Wood)