Photo: U.S. Army Sgt. Shaun Kramer and fellow air-traffic controllers are responsible for monitoring hundreds of aircraft movements daily at the Contingency Operating Base Speicher Terminal in Tikrit, Iraq. Scroll down for the video. Courtesy Photo
by Keith Beebe
MAPLE PARKâ€”Itâ€™s unlikely that any young boy hoping to someday become a soldier is also dreaming of someday appearing in a U.S. Department of Defense video, but thatâ€™s exactly what happened to former Maple Park resident Shaun Kramer.
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Kramer was one of several soldiers to appear in the video about how the U.S. Air Force and Army work with Iraqi civilians to safely and efficiently run the Contingency Operating Base Speicher Arrival and Departure Airfield Control Group (ADAG) Air Terminal in Tikrit, Iraq.
Kramer is an air traffic controller and training supervisor assigned to Company F, 3-25 General Support Aviation Battalion, Task Force Hammerhead, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade. Military officials selected him early in his deployment to appear in the film, in which he gave his perspective on the Contingency Operating Base Speicher functioning as a gateway to Northern Iraq.
â€œI attempted to clearly illustrate the fact that Speicher Tower helps to orchestrate and move much-needed personnel and equipment all throughout Iraq,â€ he said. â€œFor me, the mission the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade does here (is) directly contributes to success throughout Iraq.â€
As an air traffic controller, Kramer, along with his fellow controllers, are responsible for more than 500 aircraft movements during each 12-hour shift. He likes his work, although it is demanding.
â€œWhat I like best about my job is the amount of responsibility, as well as the number of lives that we are responsible for safely moving each day,â€ he said. â€œI think the hardest part of my job is staying focused all the time. Being on top of things 99 out of 100 times isnâ€™t good enough.â€
Kramerâ€™s desire to travel and see the world inspired him to join the Army Reserves in August 1999. His older brother, Clint, recruited him to join the Army. Clint is a Sergeant First Class who is currently deployed in Afghanistan. Military service has offered both of them a chance not only to serve their country, but to pursue their personal interests.
â€œMy brother always wanted to be a police officer, and I always liked aviation,â€ Kramer said. â€œThe Army is allowing both of us to do what we like.â€
Kramer joined active duty in 2006 and is currently on his second combat tour of Iraq.
U.S. Army Sgt. Shaun Kramer grew up in Maple Park and was named All-State in track and field four times while attending Kaneland High School. His track coach, Ralph Drendel, was a superb role model who pushed Kramer to achieve great things, he said.
â€œ(Drendel) was one of the biggest influences to my success as a teenager,â€ Kramer said. â€œIn many ways, he got me ready for the Army. He showed me that hard work and determination will lead to good things in life, and thatâ€™s one of the reasons I was so prepared for Army life.â€
See the video: