Guam-born Airman connects his two families

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jovante Johnson
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

The island of Guam boasts beautiful scenery, ideal surfing weather, mouth-watering foods, and friendly natives surrounding the area. For one Airman, this island isn’t just a workspace but a place he calls home.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Gabriel Pereda, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation operator, has not only had the pleasure of growing up in Guam, but also working here for the majority of 2021 participating in two Bomber Task Force (BTF) deployments.

The U.S. Strategic Command BTF missions demonstrate continued U.S. commitment to allies and partners with BTF deployments in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility and ability of U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command to deliver lethal, ready, long-range strike options to Geographic Combatant Commanders anytime, anywhere.

“This is my third Bomber Task Force deployment and my second of 2021,” said Pereda. “My leadership entrusted me with the responsibility of being a part of the last BTF that started around the beginning of this year, letting me stay in Guam on leave after the last BTF ended, then attached me to this team giving me more time to be home.”

Guam has a large military presence with several installations on the island. Over time, the military presence has had an influence on the people of the island and that military influence is what drove Pereda to join.

“Being from Guam, it’s easy to see how military-focused the island is. Whether it be active-duty, Reserve/Guard, or prior service, a person can’t throw a rock without hitting someone affiliated with the military in some way,” said Pereda. “Growing up around that military presence and
seeing the effect the military had on the people I was surrounded by growing up made joining the Air Force an easy choice for me.”

The Air Force offered a sense of family that always made Pereda feel as if he never truly left home.

“This year has been so surreal for me,” said Pereda. “This whole experience is like a mash-up episode on Disney Channel like when two shows collide and interlock with one another. I get to introduce my family that raised me for the first 18 years of my life to the family that I became a part of in the Air Force. It is definitely a perk of the job and something I have enjoyed most during my time in the Air Force.”

As a ground transportation Airman, Pereda plays an integral part in the BTF and the mission cannot move forward without these Airman’s efforts.

“Ground transportation is defined simply as moving people and cargo,” said Pereda. “My job during the BTF is to take people where they need to go, whether that be pilots to their jets, maintainers to where they are working out of, and even getting all of the cargo, such as heavy machinery, for the mission here to Guam and back to Barksdale [Air Force Base] safely.”

It is not common to be chosen for back-to-back BTF deployments and it shows how much Pereda’s leadership trusts the work he does, how much faith they have in their Airmen to get the job done correctly.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryin Rader, 2nd Logistics Readiness Squadron ground transportation operator supervisor, explains why leadership felt this opportunity was given to Pereda and how much he means to their shop.

“Senior Airman Pereda’s work ethic here as well as back at home station has a lot to do with him being chosen for these back-to-back BTF deployment opportunities,” said Rader. “Pereda is someone that you can give the keys to with little-to-no instructions on what to do and he will get it done. He is that special piece of our puzzle that keeps our shop running as smooth as it does here and back at Barksdale.”

Furthermore, Pereda’s leadership recognized how financially draining it can be for him to visit his family so they were more than willing to help him stay home for a longer time as well as get the mission done.

“Every time I come home from Barksdale it costs me around $1700,” said Pereda. “I asked leadership for the opportunity to stay here for leave and they suggested I participate in both BTF deployments to lessen the financial burden of me buying plane tickets. I am grateful that my leadership always has my best interest at heart.”