Airlifter of the Week: 424th ABS NCO integral to training capabilities

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman John R. Wright
  • 86th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs
A noncommissioned officer assigned to the 424th Air Base Squadron at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium, was recognized as Airlifter of the Week, Dec. 10, 2020, for his integral role in expanded training capabilities and installation support.

Staff Sgt. Brittain Purnell, 424th ABS transient alert technician, supported Chièvres Air Base’s first C-130J Super Hercules aircraft combat offload training by operating the geographically separated unit’s newly acquired all-terrain, 10,000-pound capacity forklift.

The all-terrain forklift and combat offload exercise enabled training for personnel who support operations in more severe conditions, Purnell said. Before acquiring the heavy-duty forklift, the 424th ABS would have to borrow one from Ramstein.

Purnell also facilitated the delivery of six oversized tires from Ramstein to Chièvres, expediting one of the airfield’s vital fire truck’s return to service.

“Outside of (Purnell’s) normal duties – handling aircraft coming in and out and parking the aircraft – he’s also one of our few forklift operators,” said Master Sgt. Thomas Schute, 424th ABS airfield and facilities sustainment superintendent. “We were able to have him go out and retrieve the tires, and get them delivered to the vehicle maintenance shop in the same day.”

In addition to servicing transient aircraft and operating heavy-duty forklifts, Purnell leads the base’s foreign object debris prevention team and coordinates weekly FOD walks.

Outside of work, Purnell, a Berlin, Maryland, native, enjoys traveling when he can, running, automobiles, aircraft and geography.

Leadership also recognized Purnell’s professionalism and admirable character.

“I would say he probably handles 90% or better of the distinguished visitors that come in and out, and he’s super professional – on duty and off duty,” Schute said. “Sgt. Purnell is one of the most humble people I’ve ever met, and everything he does is 100% authentic. (He) takes care of the mission and the squadron, and is completely selfless.”

The Airlifter of the Week program recognizes outstanding Airmen who demonstrate a high level of dedication to their job and support the 86th Airlift Wing’s reputation for ready and professional airlift.

“It feels pretty awesome to simply be recognized,” Purnell said. “Obviously without the help of my team, this would not be possible. I just want to give thanks to my entire team and my leadership for being there.”