Airman’s Radio Series Preserved by Veterans History Project

SMSgt. Temple hands out school supplies at a school for Afghan girls. He started a school supplies drive for Afghan children after seeing their needs during his yearlong deployment.

By Sarah Pusateri

For one year, the voice of retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Rex Temple, brought comfort to the thousands of wives, husbands, parents and children of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now that voice will be preserved forever in a radio series called “My Last Tour” — in the US Library of Congress as part of the Veteran’s History Project.

The weekly stories aired on WUSF 89.7 FM in Tampa from May 2009 to April 2010 and gave listeners a glimpse into the life of those serving in a war zone like Afghanistan.

During a speech before fellow veterans, members of Congress, and military families, Temple talked about how honored he was to have been part of the My Last Tour radio series.

He said he was surprised to find out how popular his stories had become.

While in Afghanistan, Temple and his team helped with security for the August 2009 election.

“At that time, I couldn’t fathom the popularity of the series,” he said.

“The visits to my blog (Afghanistan: My Last Tour) increased to 700 a day and people would comment, and ask questions about Afghanistan,” he said.

Temple said he was grateful that he got the opportunity to tell his story, but said at first he was skeptical about telling it to media.

“In my previous experiences with journalists, I felt they were either biased and their only focus was on blood and guts.”

He said he felt comfortable with WUSF reporter Bobbie O’Brien. Soon, they were talking weekly about all aspects of life as an airman serving on an Embedded Training Team.

“I didn’t know what to talk about. It was like, okay we do a lot of boring things,” he said.

“Then come to find out, it’s those mundane things that really appeal to the audience –how we live, the logistics of a convoy, and the people we interact with.”

After 28 years of service, Temple is now retired. He said he’s truly honored to know his stories will live forever archived in the Veteran’s History Project.

Temple’s ETT teammates held a voluntary prayer prior to each of their missions “outside the wire.”


MacDill AFB: A Community Bids Farewell to Col. Richoux

A billboard in Brandon, FL.

Col. Lenny Richoux was certainly a popular commander when running Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base. He started a friends of MacDill program to encourage civilian members of the community to visit the base and get to know its work and people.

Richoux also worked to expand services to military families, about 80 percent of them, living off base in communities such as Brandon. So, it’s no wonder that this billboard appeared in Brandon.

I don’t know who sponsored the billboard, but you hope Richoux and his family have a chance to see it before flying off to Belgium, their new post.

And a welcome to Col. Scott DeThomas, a friend of Richoux’s, and the new MacDill AFB commander and leader of the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

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