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157 LRS captain making an impact

U.S. Army Col. Kirk C. Dorr, Joint Task Force-Bravo commander, pins the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal on U.S. Air Force Capt. Sherri Pierce, JTF-Bravo Logistics director, during a commander’s call last month while deployed to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. Pierce received the award for completing 11 volunteer events equaling more than 40 hours of service while deployed. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Army Col. Kirk C. Dorr, Joint Task Force-Bravo commander, pins the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal on U.S. Air Force Capt. Sherri Pierce, JTF-Bravo Logistics director, during a commander’s call last month while deployed to Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras. Pierce received the award for completing 11 volunteer events equaling more than 40 hours of service while deployed. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Sherri Pierce, JTF-Bravo Logistics director, greets a member of the Commission Permanente de Contingencias (COPECO) this past summer during a capabilities brief and tour in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. To prepare for a possible future response to humanitarian aid or disaster relief missions in Honduras, JTF-Bravo works to build relationships with COPECO. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Sherri Pierce, JTF-Bravo Logistics director, greets a member of the Commission Permanente de Contingencias (COPECO) this past summer during a capabilities brief and tour in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. To prepare for a possible future response to humanitarian aid or disaster relief missions in Honduras, JTF-Bravo works to build relationships with COPECO. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Sherri Pierce, JTF-Bravo Logistics director, and others volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity project at the Ajuterique Housing Project June 28 in Comayagua, Honduras. Members of JTF-Bravo filled trenches and leveled ground outside of homes at the housing project to assist Honduran families waiting to move into their new homes. The Ajuterique Housing Project is a long-term project that’s already helped construct more than 50 homes for Honduran families. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Sherri Pierce, JTF-Bravo Logistics director, and others volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity project at the Ajuterique Housing Project June 28 in Comayagua, Honduras. Members of JTF-Bravo filled trenches and leveled ground outside of homes at the housing project to assist Honduran families waiting to move into their new homes. The Ajuterique Housing Project is a long-term project that’s already helped construct more than 50 homes for Honduran families. (Courtesy photo)

157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs -- Throughout an Air Force career, there are defining moments that can help shape you as a professional Airmen.

For Capt. Sherri Pierce, that moment culminated during  a six-month deployment to Honduras serving with Joint Task Force Bravo at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.

"This truly has been a fantastic experience," said Pierce, who is assigned to the 157th Logistics Readiness Squadron when at home station. "Being in a joint environment has given me an appreciation for other services, mostly the Army since they are the biggest contingent here other than the (Air Force)."

Pierce, an 11-year veteran of the 157 ARW is nearing the end of her deployment as the director of Logistics for Joint Task Force Bravo. The former enlisted graphic illustrator reflected on her increased leadership role as an officer.

"A lot more is expected of me now as an officer, and as the director of a deployed organization," said Pierce. "Among the many things I have learned during this deployment is that I am up for this task -- I am capable of much more than I ever gave myself credit for."

Pierce, who is on her first deployment, is part of a 15-member team in logistics, which includes service members and foreign service nationals. Her team is responsible for Ports and Plans, Maintenance Readiness, Sub Area Petroleum Office, Property Book Office and is also responsible for the Mortuary Affairs program in Honduras.

"JTF-Bravo conducts a variety of missions in Central and South America; from supporting U.S. operations to counter transnational crime to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and building partner capacities," she said. "The successful completion of these missions allows us to promote security throughout the region, which is the foundation for stable and productive societies."

Col. Paul Loiselle, 157th Mission Support Group commander, is not surprised by Pierce effectively playing a crucial role in mission effectiveness of the Task Force.

"Captain Pierce is a smart, determined and competent professional and leader," he said. "This experience will without a doubt make her an even stronger leader in this organization in the future."

In addition to her responsibilities as the director of logistics, Pierce has the opportunity to volunteer on multiple humanitarian missions, such as Habitat for Humanity, chapel hikes to distribute necessities to local families and visits to local orphanages.

"There are volunteer humanitarian assistance events almost every weekend," said Pierce. "Volunteering for this can be backbreaking because we are literally digging ditches, moving cinder blocks and rocks ... but it is very rewarding."

Prior to her deployment to Central America, she served as a graphic illustrator during a 30-day deployment to New Orleans shooting video Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

For her current deployment, the first 30 days presented a real set of challenges.

"The first 30 days here was like drinking from a fire hose," she said. "Going from a traditional job as a (logistics airman) for the Air National Guard to being the director of Logistics for a Joint Base, I had a lot to learn" 

Pierce credited her successful transition to great NCOs and warrant officers in her shop to other officers and service members on base. She was surprised to learn that there are a lot more guard and reservists deployed at her location. Her impression was that active duty service members would balk at Guard members, but found the opposite.

"If you do your job and show that you are competent, no one care what status you are in," said Pierce said. "I know nothing else in my career than the 157 ARW and the Air National Guard; yet those experiences have prepared me well for this deployment."