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132nd Wing awards dedicated FSRT team leader with Airmen of the Year

Staff Sgt. Kortney M. Mazera receives the 132d Wing Airman of the Year Award from Col. Shawn Ford, commander 132d Wing on November 5, 2016 at the Des Moines Airbase. The award presentation was part of the 132d Wing's annual awards ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Kelly)

Staff Sgt. Kortney M. Mazera receives the 132d Wing Airman of the Year Award from Col. Shawn Ford, commander 132d Wing on November 5, 2016 at the Des Moines Airbase. The award presentation was part of the 132d Wing's annual awards ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Kelly)

1/4/2017 --

 

As she recalls the countless training exercises for Fatality Search and Recovery Team (FSRT), Staff Sgt. Kortney M. Mezera, FSRT team lead, removes her blouse and boots and climbs into the chemical gear.

Mezera, a native of McGregor, Iowa, has been training for FSRT about once or twice a year since she started looking for change four years ago and joined the Iowa Air National Guard.

Trained to go out in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazmat conditions to recover mass casualties and fatalities, Mezera and her team are always ready.

“I have a team of 4 people and we go downrange in our suits,” said Mezera. “I like the fact that those four people trust me enough to have their back in any situation. I like to have that kind of impact on people.”

Mezera has also been chosen to be an observer controller trainer, where she observes other FSRT teams and helps them with anything they may need. She works closely with the Army for FSRT where she has been awarded two Army Achievement medals, coined by an Army general and the Patriot Guard commander.

Mezera also puts a lot of emphasis on volunteering outside of the base. During her time at the University of Iowa she put in a lot of work with the University of Iowa Veteran’s Association, doing a lot for the veteran students and community members.

While Mezera was not expecting the Airman of the Year Award, she was very happy about it. She said that in the future she wants to work her way up in the FSRT department, obtain her bachelor’s degree and retire after serving 20 years.