Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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 The Globe-Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mason City man's mission: Helping spread freedom
by John Skipper

MASON CITY — Air Force Capt. Logan Pals of Mason City has a simple answer for why he volunteered for deployment to Afghanistan last year.

“It’s just something you expect to do,” he said in a telephone interview from Kabul. “You expect to do your role in spreading freedom throughout the world.”

Pals, 26, a 2007 graduate of Mason City High School, is in the middle of a six-month deployment where he is using his technical expertise to develop mission-planning software for pilots flying America’s most advanced aircraft: F-15, F-16 and F-22 fighters and B-2 and B-52 bombers.

“My job is to set everybody up for success,” he said.

Pals is stationed at Resolute Support headquarters, a multi-national command center in Kabul that involves 2,500 military personnel, contractors and other civilians in a 42-nation coalition with a goal of making Afghanistan safe, secure and free.

He is unabashed about his love of family, love of country — and love of the Iowa State Cyclones.

His family has had season tickets to Iowa State football games for 35 years.

“I started going to Cyclone football games when I was 4 years old and only missed one home game from then until I graduated from Iowa State,” he said.

In high school Pals had an interest in architecture, he said, but he gradually became interested in engineering.

The high school teacher who had a big impact on him, he said, was English teacher Deadra Stanton.

“Mrs. Stanton was old school,” said Pals. “She held your feet to the fire but you really learned from her.”

Upon graduating from high school, with his lifelong loyalty to Iowa State and its reputation for having a great engineering program, his choice for higher education was an easy one. He enrolled at Iowa State and graduated in 2011 with a degree in industrial engineering.

At ISU, he also got involved in the Air Force ROTC program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant shortly after his graduation.

His home station is at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts. While in Massachusetts, he met his fiancé, Cassie, who is training in the Air Force judge advocate general program to become an Air Force lawyer. They will be together in June when both will be at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Last year, when he volunteered to go to Afghanistan, Pals said it was a sense of duty that motivated him, the chance to provide a better life for people as a measure of his gratitude for the good life he has enjoyed.

“To whom much is given, much is expected,” he said.

Pals said he realizes his decision affected others in his family.

“I thank my parents for their support. When your son tells you he wants to go to Afghanistan, it isn’t the easiest thing to swallow,” he said. Pals is the son of Bart and Jody Pals of Mason City.

Though he is 7,000 miles away, Pals’ loyalty to Iowa State is obvious to everyone around him. “He sleeps in Iowa State shorts,” said Public Information Officer David Lakin.

He said Pals is held in high regard by his colleagues at Camp Resolute Support who notice, among other things, his thirst for learning. “He’s taking an online course from Harvard University,” said Lakin.

Pals embraces his job of developing software to keep aircraft and pilots safe.

“What constitutes a good day?” he was asked.

“Everybody coming home,” he said.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2016

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