A Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, staff sergeant deployed to Afghanistan got a call from President Obama this Thanksgiving.
During the two-minute conversation, Staff Sgt. Dustin Hawkins and the commander-in-chief talked football and family.
Hawkins, who is currently assigned to the 451st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, is on his fourth deployment, according to a Defense Department news release. He missed the births of both daughters while away from home.
His dedication to work and country earned Hawkins a nomination for the call with the president, said Maj. Aaron Brooks, 451 ECES commander.
“Staff Sgt. Hawkins has sacrificed so much in support of the mission here in Afghanistan,” Brooks was quoted as saying. “He is the consummate professional, working extremely long and sometimes odd hours, leading his section to provide power to mission-critical assets out here in some pretty challenging conditions.”
Hawkins, a power production airman, helps maintain, repair and replace 82 generators which support nearly half a million sorties flown from Kandahar Airfield each year.
Before the call, Hawkins said he was nervous. Afterward, the staff sergeant said the president sounded just like he does on television — and was much easier to talk to than he imagined.
Hawkins said he’d never forget the call.