(KLFY) The 256th Tiger Brigade is nearing the end of their deployment to the Middle East.

The role of the United States and coalition partners has changed over the last 20 years but the threats of attack are still very real.

Teams of soldiers have chosen to spend their time in the military defending the base from such attacks.

“My thing was, I didn’t want to sit behind a desk. I wanted to be in the action. I wanted to challenge myself.”

Sergeant Akia Johnson has served in the Louisiana National Guard for nearly four years as a canon crew member.

“So we blow things up. That’s basically what we do.”

She and her team members monitor the sky around the base looking for any potential threats.

“It could be planes, it could be drones, balloons, sometimes we get birds. We see everything and we counteract when there is danger ahead.”

Her base in Iraq has been attacked more than once since the brigade arrived at the beginning of the year.

“It’s been really hectic and surreal for me to be honest and scary. The last attack that we had brought tears to my eyes.

Despite the threats that continue, Johnson says she doesn’t dwell on the fear or anxiety; rather, she maintains a positive attitude.

“I love serving my country.”

Sergeant Johnson will resume her studies at the University of New Orleans when they return where she is studying English.