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‘Keep up the Good Fight,’ Apache Pilot Advises Deployed Service Members

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington --

“Keep up the good fight” is the advice Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tyson Edkin would like to pass along to deployed service members.

Edkin, an AH-64 Apache helicopter pilot with the 4-6 Attack Cavalry Squadron, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade based here, returned in August from Iraq, his third deployment.

“It feels good to go over there and know that you did your job and you could affect the battlefield in any way, shape or form and to help people that needed your help,” Edkin told reporters who were visiting the base Nov. 14 with Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan.

Shanahan was at the base engaging service members on readiness.

Edkin, who deployed in 2006 to Iraq and in 2012 to Afghanistan, said he worked 12 to 14 hours every day during his most recent overseas mission. As an Apache test pilot, his job was to troubleshoot and ensure the aircraft were mission-ready.

He credits air superiority for altering the course of the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

U.S. Air Superiority

“That gives you a huge advantage in any battlefield I think, so that's probably your No. 1 advantage,” he said. “They're fighting a ground war; we're fighting an air-to-ground war, so we can do a lot more.”

While acknowledging it was a “grind” with very long days, Edkin said it was a good deployment that went by quickly. He said he has no complaints.

“We went out there, we executed our mission. I think we knocked it out of the park,” he said, adding that, most importantly, everyone returned home safely from the nine-month deployment.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)