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Individual augmentee (IA) billets and tours aren't a requisite for first class petty officers to make chief, but they certainly can help to strengthen a Sailor's profile, making him or her "a cut above the rest" and more suitable for selection. Chief Operations Specialist (SW/AW) Robert C. Laird's story demonstrates this very point.
OS1 Laird was assigned to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, from February to October 2007 serving as Joint Operations Center liaison officer for Joint Task Force (JTF) Paladin. Like other U.S. service members and their NATO counterparts, Laird's biggest concern while in Afghanistan was improvised explosive devices (IEDs).