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Flying with the 109th - First shirt De Vito suits the troops

Area men and women fly with the 109th - Karolyn De Vito

This is the second of a two-part series on members of the 109th Airlift Wing based in Scotia. After focusing on the home lives of George Alston of Delmar and Bradt Primary teacher Karolyn De Vito last week, this week we focus on how they perform their military duties in Greenland during a recent deployment.

See the photo gallery from Greenland here

See Part 2 of George Alston's story here

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland " It is 5:25 a.m. Greenland time (3:25 p.m. in New York); it is show time for the 109th Airlift Wing for the New York Air National Guard.

The air crews are moving around, albeit slowly, attempting to find coffee in the small kitchen at the barracks at building 664 at Kangerlussuaq.

A clear voice echoes from down the dark cement-block hallway.

"Make sure you put the room keys in the can on the table," First Sgt. Karolyn De Vito said as she walks by. "The bus will be here in five, let's be ready."

"OK, First Shirt," responds a lieutenant colonel.

De Vito, 34, teaches K-2 physical education at Bradt Primary School in Rotterdam as her full-time job, but also serves as a master sergeant in the 109th This week in Greenland, she is the first sergeant for the unit.

The first sergeant, nicknamed "first shirt," is the Air Force's version of the logistics manager.

"As first sergeant, I am responsible for the recreation, morale, discipline and welfare of the soldiers and officers and act as an advisor to the commander," De Vito said.

On each deployment, one person is designated as first sergeant for the time of the stay, but De Vito serves in that capacity back at Stratton as well.

First sergeant is a special duty assignment at the 109th for three years, then there is an option for three more, according to De Vito.

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