Konshok will deploy soon to Afghanistan
Lt. Col. Dave W. Konshok is heading to Afghanistan with his U.S. Air Force Reserves unit.
While in Afghanistan, Konshok's unit will be providing light engineering services at Bagram Air Base and six other small airfields.
He is assigned as the Commander of the 419th Civil Engineering Squadron, Hill Air Force Base (Ogden), Utah. While deployed to Afghanistan he'll be the Commander of the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF (Base Engineer Emergency Force) Squadron at Bagram Air Base.
The Park Rapids City Councilman said he will first head to Ft. McCoy at the end of July to do a month of intense training. "We'll be doing weapons training, fitness training, and HUMV rollover simulations," Konshok said.
He was notified of his deployment last year and has been preparing since.
"As commander, I'll be overseeing about 100 engineers along with civilians who are with the U.S. government and Afghanistan nationals," Konshok said. "The biggest job is making sure things get done and see that people are taken care of."
Konshok has done similar work on previous deployments. His last deployment was to South Africa.
"The mission is the same, the location is different," he said.
This is the first time Konshok will be deployed to a war zone, which he said is bittersweet.
"I'm excited to be going," he said. "It's a great opportunity and during war time there's a feeling of pride. The hard part is leaving family and the community."
His crew will include carpenters, electricians and plumbers, along with professional engineers. They will head out with hand tools to work on military facilities.
The Air Force base he will be stationed at is in eastern Afghanistan, about an hour north of the capitol city, Kabul.
Konshok has already started training and said something he notices is that each time he's deployed there are more bags to carry.
"They just get heavier and heavier, with more bags," he said. "It's hard on the shoulders."
He's also not looking forward to the strict dress code.
"I'd say I'm least looking forward to not being allowed to wear civilian clothes at all when I'm over there," he said.
Konshok will miss his family but said with e-mail and Skype it's not as hard as it used to be.
"Those tools really help with morale," he said.
Konshok also said he will provide occasional updates to the Enterprise during his deployment to keep the community informed. He said being from a supportive community like Park Rapids also eases his mind.
"This is what I train for," he said. "For a military officer to be able to command a squadron, this is it."