December 20, 2021 –
Four Airmen from Michigan are ensuring that forward deployed military personnel have the medical support they need to stay in the fight.
Four members of the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Medical Group, based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in metropolitan Detroit, are serving with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. They are Capt. William Waling, Master Sgt. Jason Kluttz, Tech. Sgt. Kenetha Harris and Senior Airman Tyler Begg.
The four medical specialists are among a group of about 200 Airmen from Selfridge who have recently deployed or will soon do so. Most are scheduled for a six-month deployment. The medical team deployed at the end of October and are now all working in the clinic at ADAB.
Like most in the Air National Guard, all four of the Michigan Airmen are traditional members of the Guard, meaning they general serve one weekend per month on military duty and are on call for deployments or other assignments.
Waling is a psychiatric nurse practitioner in his civilian career. While at ADAB, he is serving as a clinical nurse and as the clinic’s patient advocate.
Kluttz is a small business owner, selling dental supplies. At ADAB, he is a biomedical specialist who is primarily serving as the facility manager at the clinic, ensuring all building maintenance and related details are accomplished.
Harris works as an administrative assistance for a construction company in her civilian job. On the deployment, she is a health administration specialist, ensuring patients’ records are properly maintained.
Begg is a medic in the Air Force. He is a student at Oakland University back home, where he is studying computer science. He also got married earlier this year.
For Begg, the trip to ADAB came just a couple of months after he completed an extended period of duty in Michigan, serving as part of the National Guard response to the Covid-19 epidemic. Begg says that while on that duty, he personally administered over 7,000 Covid tests to Michigan residents, cross crossing the entire state several times, visiting nursing homes, prisons and numerous other locations.
“It was a challenge, but in the end rewarding. Doing something like that is what I came in (to the military) for,” he said.
Begg is utilizing Michigan’s tuition assistance program for National Guard personnel to finance his studies at Oakland University and plans to take online classes in the Oakland semester beginning in January 2022, while completing his deployment.
Harris said news of the deployment to ADAB came as she was preparing to turn in her retirement papers after 20 years of combined service between the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.
“I thought about it and talked it over – this deployment is the reason you serve. So, I decided I would retire with 21 years of service and finish this deployment,” she said.
Kluttz is also around the 20-year mark. In fact, his current deployment to ADAB marks his second deployment here. In 2000, while he was serving as a maintenance specialist on the KC-10 Extender aircraft, he was deployed to ADAB.
“So, my first deployment and my last, are both here at ADAB. That feels like a pretty good way to close out my career,” he said.
Kluttz said that being in the Air National Guard has been an important part of allowing him to start his business.
“Having the health insurance available from the Guard – that providing the support I needed to go out on my own. I am happy to be able to serve and the support from the Guard makes a big difference in my civilian career,” he said.
In addition to the Medical Airmen, about a dozen firefighters, an airfield management specialist and three public affairs specialists from Selfridge are currently at ADAB.
“Even though we are away from our own families, having a little bit of Selfridge family here helps put a smile on your face,” Kluttz said.