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Deployed Reservists talk war and baseball with congresswoman

Deployed 442d Fighter Wing reservists received a phone call from Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler on Monday. Hartzler phoned the deployed citizen airmen from her home office outside Harrisonville, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Technical Sgt. Emilly Alley)

Deployed 442d Fighter Wing reservists received a phone call from Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler on Monday. Hartzler phoned the deployed citizen airmen from her home office outside Harrisonville, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Technical Sgt. Emilly Alley)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- It was almost midnight Tuesday, August 19, in Bagram when a room full of deployed Airman from the 442d Fighter Wing took a phone call from Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler.

Lt. Col. Bryan Stone, 303d Air Expeditionary Fighter Squadron Commander, casually mentioned, at the start of the conversation, the airfield had been attacked 64 times since they had arrived in April. By the end of the phone call, that number was up to 65.

In addition to discussing the impact the deployed 442 FW members have made in Afghanistan, Stone also suggested to the congresswoman that their deployment has had a positive impact on the local Kansas City Royals.

"As luck would have it, as long as we have been gone the Royals have done well!" he joked.

Hartzler, who represents the geographic district surrounding Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri's fourth congressional district, and who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, praised the deployed reservists and asked questions about the wing's continued mission in Afghanistan.

"We have quite a few hogs in the air," said Chief Master Sgt. Russell Robinson, another deployed 442 FW member, as he briefed the congresswoman on their flying tempo and the bullet holes they've found in aircraft after missions.

The crews have maintained one of the most intense deployed flight schedules in Air Force Reserve history.

"You've been asked to do more than most Reservists in the past," Hartzler said. "But there's no other airplane the guys on the ground want to see more coming over the horizon."

She ended the phone call by asking about the deployed Airmen's families - and the six newborn babies who have been born back home during the deployment. Those present in the room in Bagram assured her they were ready to come home to Missouri.

"You're so important to the guys on the ground. You're saving lives," concluded the congresswoman as she said goodbye. "But I'm sure the time will fly by. No pun intended."