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

"She makes sure people in the unit are up to Air Force standards," Maj. Carlyle Norman, deployment commander for Greenland, said. "She is sort of a sergeant at arms for us."

"I am the eyes and ears for the squadron command," De Vito said, "and an advisor to the commander, especially regarding legal issues."

De Vito is the first line in dealing with problems.

"She is an advocate for personnel. The first shirt's job is to correct the problem immediately at the lowest level possible. When paperwork is involved, it comes to my level," Norman said. "Her job is to keep me informed. If someone is injured or there are problems with personnel or the rooms, I have to report back to Schenectady."

While problem solving is a part of the job, morale is a key factor for the soldiers when the unit deploys.

"When we are here [Greenland] or especially in Antarctica, we are a long way from home and away for weeks at a time." Norman said. "During our down time we try to plan activities that keep their minds off being so far away."

"In Greenland there are lots of outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking and running. Many of the guys spend free time outdoors," he added. "Greenland is unlike Antarctica, where it is a lot colder, so we have more indoor activities."

This summer is the first time the 109th brought several mountain bikes to for the crews to sign out.

"There is a lot of terrain to ride on, and it has been a popular thing for people to do on their off time," she said. "but we still have indoor activities as well."

During this trip to Greenland, De Vito ran a dodge ball tournament, and bus rides to the Duty-Free and the only local store.

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