By Sgt. Walter Carroll, 1st Inf Div Sust Bde Public AffairsJuly 8, 2019
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Military service is a tradition seen throughout many of our nation's families. With several different components to serve in, to include active duty, National Guard, reserve, civilian corps, as well as five different branches to serve under, it is not always a surprise to find family members serving the nation together.
Ms. Kay Coyne, who recently worked as a GS-13 assistant operations officer and battle captain for the 401st Army Field Support Battalion -- Afghanistan, has had her fair share of time working for the Army. In fact, she currently has 39 years of service to the nation.
Her fourth and most recent deployment sent Coyne to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
"I arrived boots on ground here on Bagram on November 12, 2018," Coyne said. "This is my fourth one-year deployment. My first one-year deployment was December 2006 -- November 2007 as the deputy adjutant/G1 for the 401st AFSB in Kuwait. My second one-year deployment was November 2008 -- November 2009 as the deputy resource manager/G8 for the 401st AFSB in Kuwait. My third one-year deployment was August 2016 -- August 2017as an operations officer in the 401st AFSBn-KU SPO (support operations). I was also a contracting officer's representative (COR) for the 401st AFSBn-KU, overseeing APS-5 operations being performed in Supply COSIS (Care of Supplies in Storage) and oversight of the contractor's battle operations center (BOC)."
With so many years and different responsibilities, Coyne further explains the role she played.
"As the Assistant S3, I work with the S3 OIC (officer in charge) and NCOIC (noncommissioned officer in charge) managing the battalion operations center," Coyne said. "It is a 24-hour operation that helps to provide 100% accountability and support in the event of a Red Cross Message or indirect fire attack. Also as the Battle Captain, I am responsible for managing the battle desk.
"The AFSBn-A is the only forward operating battalion in the Combined/Joint Operations Area (CJOA). Therefore, we are OPCON (operational control) to the 1ID Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade (RSSB) and ADCON (administrative control) to the 401st AFSBn-A. This comes from under the umbrella of the Army Sustainment Command in Rock Island, IL which is my home duty station.
"Working with two different lanes of chain of command are very challenging but rewarding," Coyne said.
She also reflected on how her initial deployment helped to shape her Army career.
"As I progressed in my career, I found that I wanted to invest in some challenging assignments where I could be more involved in the overall mission," Coyne said. "After my first deployment in Kuwait, it gave me a wider view of the overall Army mission and I wanted to be more involved, so I got what they call the 'deployment bug'. Through my experiences, I would strongly recommend that all civilians should deploy at least once during their career whether they are prior military or not."
Military service is not something that Coyne has had to go through on her own. In fact, her younger brother also serves the nation.
Command Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell serves as the Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the senior noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Both brother and sister offered their views of what it was like growing up with one another.
"My brother is the youngest of four," Coyne said. "As the only sister, I was also like the second mother, especially to the two youngest brothers. It wasn't easy living with three brothers who also thought they were your second dad. He was the typical baby brother."
Troxell had something similar to say.
"She was the only sister of four children, so she was like a second mother to me and my older brother. She would make us do our chores and provided us with coaching and mentorship, otherwise known as tough love even if we didn't ask for it."
Troxell also reflected upon how Coyne helped his Army career.
"I think she was critical part of my overall development process as I was growing up," Troxell said. "My success I've had is a direct reflection of my formative years growing up."
In regards to Coyne's nearly 40 years of service, Troxell offered his feelings as well as how he thinks the Army has made them become closer as siblings.
"I am just appreciative that she would exhibit selfless service in support of our country for so long," Troxell said.
Troxell added, they share a common language in military speak and look at the world through shared lenses based on their military experiences.
Military service is not only something shared between the brother and sister, but the maternal grandfather as well. It is their grandfather who Coyne attributes to encouraging her brother to serve the nation.
"I believe it was our maternal Grandfather that may have been the most influence in encouraging him to serve," Coyne said. "He was a veteran of World War II and of the 12 children our grandparents had, several went in to serve in many different branches of service."
Additionally, with deployments being part of Coyne's job, Troxell reflected on how he feels about his older sister deploying and the difference in their deployments.
"I support it," Troxell said. "Our deployment advice does not get shared because I spend most of my time in direct combat while she is in combat support."
While at Bagram, Coyne was recognized for her hard work during several occasions. One of which is the 1st Infantry Division Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade's "'Durable' of the Week," and another being the "Sustainer of the Week" in which she was recognized by the 401st AFSB command team, Col. Jeffrey S. Niemi and Command Sgt. Maj. Dexter K. Ferguson
Coyne has many thoughts about how her experience has been working for the Army.
"Overall, it doesn't seem like it's been almost 39 years since I started working for the Army," Coyne said. "They say time flies when you're having fun. I have met and worked with and for a lot of great people. That is the most rewarding part of my career. It has also taken me to different places around the world where I have been able to experience different cultures as well. I plan to retire in a couple of years from the Army, but retiring only from going to work every day.
She continued by expressing her outlook toward the future.
"In the last retirement ceremony I attended, they advised to not focus on what you are retiring FROM, but to focus on what you are retiring TO," Coyne said. "I plan to retire TO enjoying life with family and friends, traveling, working on my favorite hobbies, possibly becoming a full-time party planner, and volunteering for my community and working in different parts of the world. I've been working with the Red Cross for many years both professionally and personally, so I plan to continue that relationship. During my third deployment, working in the AFSBn-KU SPO (support operations), I processed all the Red Cross Messages for the BN (battalion) and contractor personnel in our AOR (area of responsibility). During my deployment, I also received a Red Cross Message because my father died suddenly. I was in Kuwait and my brother was in Germany. That experience being on the other end of the spectrum validated that I want to be there for the Red Cross as part of my retirement plan. I have been very blessed in my life and I plan to continue PAYING IT FORWARD."