Thompson Field, Jackson, MS --
When the 172d Communication’s Flight;s Technical Sgt. Chris Ebelhar started his overseas deployment, his motivation enabled him to successfully tackle two challenges. The first was the surprise assignment that he received when he was named as the NCOIC of his group’s communications focal point.
“It was the first time I had the opportunity to supervise at that level, so it was a great experience for me,” Ebelhar said after acknowledging that he had expected to just be manning a shift lead position.
Another challenge was presented by the oppressive heat and humidity that combined to weigh heavy on 14-year veteran’s desire to focus on physical fitness and to strengthen his ailing back.
“I started running when I was over there, but with the heat it took a couple of weeks for my body to adjust,” Ebelhar winced when remembering the scorching heat. “I started out running every other day and I dreaded it and hated it.”
Ebelhar’s desert runs typically began at 1930 following his 12-how work shifts. Although he usually ran alone, the head and humidity accompanied him, even at night. The distances started at a mile and a half and built up to two miles and sometimes as much as four.
Since returning from his deployment, Ebelhar’s penchant for fitness has continued to run strong with increased distances and goals.
“I plan on running the Nashville half-marathon in April and am excited about competing in the Niagara Falls half-marathon in October,” Ebelhar exclaimed.
Not only is Ebelhar’s fitness tracking strong, but his military career is also marching in step. Prior to his deployment, he accepted a position on the wing’s communications group’s plans and implementation team and will gain AGR status in April. Prior to the move, Ebelher had worked on the operations side of the group.
“It’s a change of pace and quite a challenge,” Ebelher said. “I get to see the planning and the base projects that are taking place.”
With his increased role, Ebelhar will be helping to manage the distribution of wing workplace components that so many members rely on.
“I’m working on life cycle management with a focus on how and when we order computers, monitors, desktops, and more,” Ebelhar said. “It’s a challenge, but I’m excited about it.”
Additional growth opportunities are planned for Ebelhar. He’s attending the Noncommissioned Officer Academy in August and hopes to compete for higher rank and increased responsibilities.
Ebelhar’s military career path has extended beyond his work in communications. Beginning in 2012, He served for several years as a victim advocate for the wing’s sexual assault and response program.
“I taught bystander intervention training,” Ebelhar said. “Being a male made that role not the easiest thing to do since I was talking about sexual assault. It’s not the easiest thing to talk about.”
When not donning his uniform, Ebelhar is known for being an avid Mississippi State fan. The father of one, has also had a life-long association with soccer. He has played beyond his school years and referee’s contests throughout the state. Much like his military service, Ebelhar sees his 12-years of refereeing as another way to serve the community.
“I have a chance to mentor the kids and coach them up some,” he said. “I have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the kids and it means a lot to me.”