KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - "Hello, President Obama? ... I'm great, how are you?"
So began the most memorable phone call of a six-month deployment for Senior Airman Keshia Shutts with the 451st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron here, who received a Christmas morning phone call from President Barack Obama.
The Commander-in-Chief thanked Shutts for her service and asked if she had been able to talk to her 3-year old daughter, Sienna, back home in Angola, Ind. He also asked if Shutts, who is engaged, had set a date for the ceremony.
"September 1, 2013," she replied. "You're more than welcome to attend our wedding."
Shutts, originally from Montpelier, Ohio, is deployed from the 121st Logistics Readiness Squadron of the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio Air National Guard, located at Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio.
She is nearing the end of a six-month deployment to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, where she started off in aerial port, and for the last five months has worked as an administrative assistant in the squadron's command section. She was nominated by wing leadership to receive the call from Obama in recognition of her outstanding performance.
"Airman Shutts conducts herself as a true quality Airman," said Lt. Col. Manuel Perez, the 451st ELRS commander. "She demands perfection and professionalism, and she really sets the example."
In addition to her official duties, Shutts has volunteered at the Role 3 hospital, at the USO and as a victim advocate in the wing's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program. She also volunteered 12 hours to mentor 30 Afghan children at the local Kandahar Bazaar school.
Volunteering at the hospital and working with the Afghan children have been two highlights of her deployment, she said.
Since Shutts has been at KAF, she has also completed Airman Leadership School and is pursuing her second Bachelor's Degree, in nursing.
"For me, nominating her was a no-brainer," Perez said. "If I had to pick my No. 1 Airman in the squadron, it would be her."
Shutts, who has been selected for staff sergeant and will sew on next month, said it was an honor to be selected to receive the phone call from the president.
"It was awesome," she said of the call. "Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."