by Airman 1st Class Alexa Ann Henderson
36th Wing Public Affairs
4/17/2015 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- B-52H
Stratofortress teams have been rotating to Andersen AFB for the last 11
years to maintain the U.S. Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber
Presence. Hundreds of Airmen deploy every six months to support this
mission that strengthens regional security and stability of the
Asia-Pacific region. Among the team keeping B-52s up and running are two
married Airmen serving here together.
Airman 1st Class Ashley McDowell, 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron
combat crew communications apprentice, and her husband Airman 1st Class
Iseral McDowell, 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
hydraulic systems apprentice, are deployed here from Barksdale AFB, La.
Their story starts out simply enough. They met and started dating during
college in 2011. After deciding they wanted to do something memorable
and rewarding in their lives, they signed up for the Air Force together
on the same day.
"The day I signed up, Iseral came with me, sat and listened," said
Ashley. "At the end, he pulled up a chair and asked if he could sign up,
Ashley left in April of 2013 for basic training, and Iseral followed her
soon after in May. While Iseral signed up as hydraulic systems, Ashley
signed up as open general. She got her job as combat crew communications
at the end of basic training.
Toward the end of technical school, they decided to get married in September 2013.
Ashley was stationed at Tyndall AFB, Fla., while Iseral was stationed at
Barksdale AFB. After a year, following Air Force join spouse policy,
Ashley had a permanent change of station to Barksdale AFB to join her
After a few months of being together at Barksdale, the McDowells learned that Iseral was deploying to Andersen AFB.
"Originally, Iseral was the one deploying, but then I found out I was
going too," Ashley said. "I know it's rare for a husband and wife to
deploy together, but it has been the biggest blessing."
Iseral said his job is to work on parts of the aircraft that allow it to
maneuver in the air, land and conduct in-flight refueling. Ashley said
she makes sure pilots have the proper flight documents they need before
they depart on a mission.
When they first arrived at Andersen, they received a series of briefings
that showed them what the mission was at Andersen AFB and how they
contribute to the CBP.
"The biggest eye opener was listening to (General Toth) talking about
Andersen's mission," Iseral said. "... I have a much better
understanding; I know how we fit into the picture now."
The CBP began March 2004 with units deployed from Barksdale AFB, La, and
Minot AFB, N.D., to Andersen AFB. The CBP was instated as a pivotal
point for forces in the Asia-Pacific region for deterrence and to aid
"It really hit me during one of the original briefings we got when we
first arrived here," Ashley said. "(General Toth) was explaining how
important our mission is to maintain a Continuous Bomber Presence. To
say that we were here, we got to help support this, it feels good."
Besides learning about how key their jobs are to the CBP, the McDowells
said this is their first deployment and they are looking to make it an
opportunity for professional growth.
"I would like to learn more about my job," Iseral said. "I'm new; I'm
still taking in a lot of information. I want to become proficient at
what I do."
Ashley said she would also like to become experienced with her job and
would like to help teach newer Airmen in her career field as they follow
her footsteps to continually support the CBP on Guam with deployments.
Both Airmen said they are proud of their jobs and are glad they are able to help the CBP mission continue.
"When I look back on this, this deployment will be a really good memory
in my career," Ashley said. "Not everybody gets to be a part of
something this great."