MSgt Roscoe “Rocky” Youngblood, originally from Farwell Michigan and Paris TN, is currently assigned to the 738th Air Expeditionary Wing, NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan, at the Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar Afghanistan, serving on a one year deployment as the Aircrew Flight Equipment Air Advisor and 441st Operations Support Superintendent and Linguist Manager. In this capacity, MSgt Youngblood is part of a 15- nation, 695-person NATO Air Training Command- Afghanistan advisory team responsible for setting the conditions for a professional, independent, and sustainable Afghan Air Force that meets the security requirements of Afghanistan today and tomorrow.
Since his arrival in Mar. 2014, MSgt Youngblood has been instrumental in NATC-A’s commitment to improve resource stewardship, enhance capability development and accelerate integration with the Afghan National Army. To date, the men and women of NATC-A have successfully reduced the projected operating cost of the AAF by over $1.5 billion, increased maintenance training by over 430%, trained the first AAF helicopter crews in Night Vision Goggle tactics, supported the ANA by moving over 1,500 injured soldiers from the battlefield to life-saving medical treatment, as well as a host of other first-ever accomplishments.
The NATC-A team is striving to accomplish a history-making feat in U.S. Air Force history by building and training a fully functional Afghan Air Force while concurrently engaged in combat operations.
In his capacity as the lead Afghan Air Force Aircrew Flight Equipment Advisor, MSgt Youngblood has aided the Afghan Air Force in delivering the 1st ever all Afghan flight crew; producing the highest state of operational readiness in the history of Kandahar’s Mi-17 fleet. His team also enhanced Afghan Air Force operations conducted to secure their borders and protect their citizens from a raging insurgency. These operations included the movement of 169,000 kilograms of critical cargo throughout Afghanistan, the timely evacuation of 143 Afghan National Army soldiers wounded-in-action off the battlefield to medical care, the respectful return of 42 Afghan soldiers killed-in-action back to their families, and multiple, ferocious air assaults against Taliban strongholds.
When asked about his current mission, he stated that, “I am so blessed to have a mission on this deployment that allows me to experience the Afghan culture along with getting to work side by side with my NATO Brothers and Sisters I feel honored to be surrounded by such capable and proud men and women that are proudly serving their country on a daily basis.”
MSgt Youngblood is permanently assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing, 20th Operations Support Squadron in Sumter, S.C. as an Aircrew Flight Equipment Flight Chief. Before deploying to Afghanistan, he completed several weeks of intensive pre-deployment training covering such topics as live-fire weapons operations; cultural awareness; convoy tactics; unexploded ordinance identification and mitigation; conversational Dari language, and hands-on evasive driving.
He is married to SMSgt Lisa Youngblood assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing Shaw AFB, S.C. where she serves as Superintendent and Functional Manager. He is the son of Kathy VanBlarcom from Clare MI. and is a graduate of Henry Co High School, TN.
At present, the Afghan Air Force has 102 military aircraft and over 6,700 assigned personnel. Those numbers are expected to grow to 154 aircraft and over 7,801 personnel between now and 2016.