U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates meets Tech. Sgt. Robyn Ciardelli, a native of Houston. She is a 1996 graduate of HHS.

SOUTHWEST ASIA – Sitting in Texas County of south-central Missouri, Tech. Sgt. Robyn Ciardelli’s hometown of Houston is a long way from her current location and often on her mind. When the 1996 graduate of Houston High School finished school there, she said she never thought she’d be some day managing more than $84 million worth of a deployed wing’s equipment.

She did, however, always believe she would join the military.

“I’ve always wanted to join,” said Sgt. Ciardelli, a material management craftsman with the 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron at a non-disclosed base in Southwest Asia. “My dad was in the Army Reserve and before that the Air Force. I was planning all through high school to join the military and it’s a choice I’m glad I made.”

In her deployed job, Sgt. Ciardelli is the NCO in charge of the 380th ELRS equipment accountability office. She manages 57 base equipment accounts valued at an estimated $84.2 million. She said the job and the responsibility that goes with it keeps her busy.

“I work with all my account managers for turn-in of unserviceable equipment and I work with my counterparts at Air Forces Central to get replacements if needed,” said Sgt. Ciardelli, who is deployed from the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, England. “I also complete surveillance inspections to check on items throughout the wing and I have to maintain 100 percent accountability of capital assets valued at $100,000 or more.”

The 12-year veteran of the Air Force also supports supply management efforts with her fellow material management Airmen in 380th ELRS. She said what they do is vital to the success of the deployed mission.

“Just look at the equipment we manage, for example,” Sgt. Ciardelli said. “All the equipment the wing uses affects communications, civil engineering, the flying mission and more. All the things we provide and manage are critical ingredients in making our deployed mission a success.”

Knowing her part in the deployed mission and in the Air Force has long settled any questions she had when she joined the Air Force after graduating Houston High School. Now well into her military career, she said serving is what she’s proud of most.

“With serving in the military, I like the respect I get and the honor it puts on my family,” Sgt. Ciardelli said. “I also really enjoy it. I am good at my job and I’m always looking for ways I can make a positive difference for first-term Airmen in my career field and in the Air Force.”

On her second deployment, Sgt. Ciardelli does what she can to help in many areas of her unit. She serves as a unit fitness program manager and participates on a chapel worship team. She said deployments can be tough and it’s important for people to remember that all deployed service members have an integral part in the deployed mission.

“What we have to do as deployed military members, no matter where we are deployed to, is important in the success of overall operations,” Sgt. Ciardelli said. “It’s difficult to be away from your family. I know I miss my family a lot, but I also know they support me no matter where I am. My family and my hometown might be far away right now, but they know that I and my fellow Airmen have come a long way to do our best.”

The 380th ELRS is a sub-unit of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing. The wing is home to the KC-10 Extender, U-2 Dragonlady E-3 Sentry and RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft. The wing is comprised of four groups and 12 squadrons and the wing’s deployed mission includes air refueling, surveillance, and reconnaissance in support of overseas contingency operations in Southwest Asia. The 380th AEW supports operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

(Editor’s note: Ciardelli is the daughter of Judith Richards of Plato and SGM (Retired) Roy E. Burgess of Huggins; the wife of Tsgt Adam Ciardelli and mother of 4-year-old daughter, Lexi, and 7-year-old son, Michael, all of Mendenhall England).

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