Youngstown reservists volunteer for Iraqi Freedom duty Published Jan. 12, 2006 By Capt. Brent J. Davis 910th Airlift WIng Public Affairs SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Upon entering the military, many military members recall being advised by others to simply "never volunteer for anything." Two Air Force Reservists from Air Force Reserve Command's 910th Airlift Wing chose to ignore these words of advice and are now reaping the benefits of volunteering for an Air Expeditionary Force deployment. Senior Airman Michael Hollows, a military pay technician with the 910th, deployed to a forward deployed location in Southwest Asia Oct. 27 for several reasons. "I wanted to get veteran's preference status that may open some doors for federal civilian employment," he said. I also wanted to travel to different parts of the world," he concluded. Some extra cash in the pocket was also a draw for Airman Hollows. "You get tax free pay while deployed here, hazardous duty pay of $250 per month as well as hostile fire pay and the food is free. It's all you can eat all the time," said Airman Hollows. Besides the cash and travel benefits, Airman Hollows had other reasons for volunteering. "I wanted to play a bigger part of something instead of just being at home station the whole time," he said. "Being at home, you really don't realize what's going on in the desert. When you deploy, you realize the issues and how aircrew, maintainers and others actually handle things," he said. "I now better understand what people in other career fields do here in the AOR," he concluded. Master Sgt. Lawrence "Scott" Cooper also volunteered to deploy to Southwest Asia September 2005 to February 2006 in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Besides being activated for one year of home station support in the 910th Communications Flight, Sergeant Cooper has volunteered for three deployments including Moron AB Spain, Sarajevo and Costa Rica. "I like the feeling of making a difference in the world particularly with the ongoing threat of terrorism," he said. "I've been trained, have done my job at home and now this is the final phase- being able to apply my experience for the real mission. I'm finally getting a chance to be put on the field for the big game," he concluded. Besides serving as an escort flight chief over 142 Airman, Sergeant Cooper has had numerous opportunities to mentor younger Airmen. "Having been both active duty and Reserve, it's great to be able to discuss and share insights on Air Force career options with the younger troops. I'm always encouraging them and pointing them in the right directions which I find very satisfying," he concluded. There are certainly exceptions to every rule and volunteering to deploy in support of the Global War on Terrorism is certainly one of them.