Sgt. Christopher Ebeling stands in front of the MATV they use for patrols in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Chris Ebeling greets the sunrise at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.
An Emery County native returns home for a short visit with family before he resumes his duties with the United States Air Force. Christopher Ebeling is the son of Chuck and Donna Ebeling of Castle Dale. He is a Tech Sgt. (TSGT). He is currently stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. When he arrives back at the base from leave he will be a Flight Sgt. in charge of a 40 man flight. Sgt. Ebeling enlisted when he was 17 years old. He went to basic training in 1997 at Lackland Air Force base. He went to Tech School from November to February of 1997-1998. His first duty was in Lakenheath England and he was there for four years. His family visited him there twice and he made two trips home during that time. He was at a permanent duty station there and was a member of the security forces and an elite gate guard.
After that time he went to Mountain Home, Idaho and attended canine school for 13 weeks. After his graduation from canine school he attended Airman Leadership School. While he was at Mountain Home he was deployed to Kuwait. "In Kuwait we did vehicle searches. We were looking for explosives. We acted as a deterrent for bringing anything explosive onto base. I was in Kuwait for four and half months and then went back to Mountain Home, Idaho. From there I was stationed at the Osan Air Base in the Republic of Korea. There I participated in law enforcement with the canine. We did sweep patrols looking for explosive devices. I spent 13 months in Korea and came home once. At the end of August in 2005 I was stationed in Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. There I also did law enforcement with a patrol enforcement dog. I was deployed to Kirkuk Air Force Base in Iraq and was there for seven and a half months. I did search operations the same has we had in Kuwait.
"The dogs I have had include: in Idaho, Tanja-E-072; in Korea, Tony D-181 and Wodan F-311 in Peterson. I left Peterson in October of 2008 my dog there was Nero E-296. I went to Ellsworth Air Force base," said Sgt. Ebeling.
All of the canine partners live with their masters when they are deployed and while on base the dogs live on base. Sgt. Ebeling was deployed to Baghdad and assigned to the 1st Cavalry, 1st Infantry division. Nero went along to Badhdad. There Sgt. Ebeling and Nero searched for explosives, did weapons sweeps and searched for stockpiles of weapons in the villages and fields of Iraq.
He also took the Kennel Master Course and was a kennel master in Baghdad.
Upon arriving back at Ellsworth he was the kennel master and in charge of training numerous dog teams. He was in charge of deployment of the dog teams to various areas where they were needed. All the dogs were under Sgt. Ebeling's care and he made sure they were ready. He handled everything to do with the health of the dog and making sure their handlers were well trained. Dogs were also trained for the secret service.
"These dogs are so important in military actions. They do the work of 20 cops. We try to keep them safe and they wear bullet proof vests, but many dogs are lost in active duty. The dogs are treated really well. They have all the equipment they need too. They even have special boots to protect their feet from the hot sun in Iraq and goggles to protect their eyes. They have all their shots and their kennels are heated and equipped with air conditioning. They always have food and water and their needs are placed first. It will depend on the mission as to whether the dogs stay in their own kennel run or with their master.
"The dogs go up in the aircraft with the special forces," said Sgt. Ebeling.
Sgt. Ebeling said some rivalries exist in the military, but once everyone gets to know each other and understands that everyone is working for the same goal then everyone understands each other better.
Sgt. Ebeling attended the Non-commissioned Officers Academy. He was at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and was in charge of a squad of 13 men. They spent six months on airbase security, controlling anything and everything that came on base. The locals work on the base and each morning, they must go through the check points and be searched. They are also searched at the end of their shifts to make sure they aren't taking anything with them off the base. The local nationals are the ones that did the searches.
Sgt. Ebeling spent time as the Flight Sgt. for a 42 man flight and did all the security involved there. There are towers on the base where observations are made and he spent time supervising everything there. "You have to keep track of all your guys and everything they do, you have to stay on top of things. I was in Afghanistan when they burned the Koran. There were riots. It was pretty intense during that time.
"I arrived back from Afghanistan to the states on May 15 this year and was back home on the 16th. I've been in for 15 years now and I will stay for at least 20 years. I am really glad I joined. I have met a lot of people and learned about different cultures, foods and customs. I have friends from all over the world now. I know the military isn't for everyone, but it's been good for me. It gave me the discipline and direction I needed in my life. It gave me the structure of knowing what to do and when to do it. Things are all black and white in the military. I have a girl friend in Rapid City named Paige Kisely and she just graduated from nursing school.
"As a dog handler, I've been involved when we have had special visitors and making sure things were secure for them. I've been involved on 10 different missions. We wear civilian clothes and it's kind of like you go undercover to complete the mission. It's really a big deal when visitors show up.
"As soldiers we are treated the best they can. Conditions are harsh in these foreign countries. The military isn't for everyone but I would recommend it. You have to be able to accept rules and be treated as part of a group, you really aren't an individual any more when you join the military. There are a lot of people who come and go in the military.
"I really like to take someone who no one has any faith in and I like to help that person and build them into a good airman. I like to build them into someone who can serve. It's really a good system to get into, I was kind of wilder in my younger days. Over time in the military I have grown up and found my place in the system. Everyone arrives in the military at different levels and people join for different reasons.
"Some join for patriotism and for some it's just a job.
"I really see a lot of patriotism in the civilians. I know people appreciate what we are doing. There are some people who are oblivious to what goes on in the world. But, for the most part I see appreciation for what's being done for them.
"It's pretty basic living in the military. When I received a package I would share it with everyone, Mail and packages are nice, but I didn't really need them. There are some people who do need that to keep them going. Emery County is a very patriotic place. I still get a tear every time I hear the National Anthem. It's hard if people aren't respectful to the flag. I really think holidays are observed for the wrong reasons now, we have kind of gotten away from their basic meaning. The fourth of July is to remember our soldiers and to remember our country," said Sgt. Ebeling.
The Ebeling family is very proud of Christopher and of their other son Bryan who is a cardiac registered nurse and has worked with veterans in the VA hospital. Sgt. Ebeling has one son aged 12 named Steten Romander. The family was enjoying their time together before Sgt. Ebeling's leave is over for this time and they spent some time boating and plans are underway for a road trip back to Virginia to visit his girl friend's family there.