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Operation Lighthouse brings joy to deployed troops

by Airman Jose Climaco
Thunderbolt staff writer

Master Sgt. Gina Carnesecchi, 6th Air Mobility Wing director of staff information manager superintendent, prepares to send packages to deployed troops as part of Wingman Day Monday.

Photo by Airman Jose Climaco

Spending time away from families at deployed locations is difficult. Spending holidays while deployed is even more difficult, especially if you don't hear from comrades back home.

Master Sgt. Gina Carnesecchi, 6th Air Mobility Wing director of staff information manager superintendent, makes sure troops deployed from the wing staff are not forgotten.

Operation Lighthouse, run by Sergeant Carnesecchi, sends packages to wing staff Airmen during deployments.

Operation Lighthouse began when Sergeant Carnesecchi was deployed in August of 2002. She said she felt forgotten during Thanksgiving because she didn't hear anything from her unit.

Sergeant Carnesecchi said she decided to implement a program to send packages to her unit's deployed troops. Once the program was approved, she began sending packages in March 2003. Operation Lighthouse has been sending packages every Air Expeditionary Force cycle since its beginning.

Packages consist of snacks, Thunderbolt newspapers, Airman magazines and letters signed by members of the wing staff. In addition to packages, deployed Airmen receive e-mails and cards on their birthdays.

Donations are collected around the time Airmen deploy and packages are sent so they arrive near the half-way point of their deployment, said Sergeant Carnesecchi, who added she doesn't do it to be thanked.

"It makes you feel good that you've brightened their day; they really appreciate it. They're having a difficult time away from their family, but we're they're family too," she added.

Staff Sgt. Christel Lugo, 6th Air Mobility Wing Command Post senior controller, was a thankful beneficiary of Operation Lighthouse.

Sergeant Lugo said she received a package during a six-month deployment.

"It was really thoughtful and helpful," Sergeant Lugo added.

Sergeant Carnesecchi's effort to bring a joy to deployed troops has not gone unnoticed.

President George W. Bush acknowledged Sergeant Carnesecchi's involvement in Operation Lighthouse during his visit to MacDill June 16.

The Lighthouse motto is: "We the men and women of the director of staff are leaving the light on for you and are awaiting your safe return. We are your beacon."




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