HRV’s Michael Bouis, Construction Services project manager, recently returned from Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, in the Middle East, after serving with the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron in the Fuels Management Flight. Mike’s deployment, which began in July 2017 and ended in January 2018, was not without its challenges.
“One of the most significant challenges during my time in Qatar was enduring the environmental conditions,” said Mike. “With daytime temperatures nudging up against 120° (F) in the shade, staying hydrated was imperative, as was ensuring everyone else in the squadron did the same.”
Staying busy, however, was not a challenge for Mike—he was responsible for making sure troops had the equipment to do their jobs, which included ear plugs, gloves, and uniforms. He also acted as safety representative, cyber security liaison, postal clerk, tank custodian trainer, and IT equipment custodian.
“There was plenty to do, that’s for sure,” added Mike. “While I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect, I never imagined having to essentially replace two people that performed those duties prior to my arrival on base.”
Mike did find time to remember HRV during his deployment. He returned to the States with an encased American flag that flew on a B-52H Stratofortress Aircraft completing a mission in theater in direct support of Operation Inherent Resolve. He presented HRV President Rochelle Stachel with the flag during an in-office event commemorating his return.
“We are all so very pleased that Mike has safely returned to us here at HRV,” said Rochelle. “His gesture of presenting this mission-flown flag demonstrates that he serves selflessly, proudly, and graciously; and we’re proud to call him our own.”
“The most rewarding aspect of serving is realizing how much it’s appreciated,” continued Mike. “I was totally surprised by the welcome home I received. For anyone that serves, it is most gratifying to know people really care—that one’s service is making a difference.”
Upon leaving Qatar, Mike contributed the boots he wore during his deployment there to “Boot Hill,” a 20-year tradition among service members in the Fuels Management squadrons that signifies departing and not having to return (hopefully).
“For first-timers, Boot Hill represents a ‘rite of passage’ in a way,” concluded Mike. “Having been previously deployed in 1998, I’ve had an opportunity to experience that—it felt good to be able to contribute to the tradition once again.”