Dec. 6, 2010

Wyatt visits Virginia Air Guard Hometown Heroes event 

By Capt. Craig T. Carper
192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HAMPTON, Va. — Lt. Gen. Harry “Bud” Wyatt, III, Director of the Air National Guard, honored 217 Airmen from the Virginia Air National Guard’s 192d Fighter Wing during the wing’s first Hometown Hero Salute ceremony held Dec. 4, 2010 in the 27th Aircraft Maintenance Unit hanger at Langley Air Force Base. 

 

Lt. Gen. Harry “Bud” Wyatt, III, Director of the Air National Guard recognizes Master Sgt. Wesley Childress for his service and deployments during the 192d FW Hometown Heroes Ceremony held Dec. 4, 2010 at Langley Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Craig T. Carper, Virginia Air National Guard)

Click HERE to download a high resolution version of this photo.

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

“It is my great honor and privilege to participate in this ceremony today,” Wyatt said. “This is an extremely important event, it acknowledges the value and expertise of our Airmen and recognizes members that have deployed.”

Among the distinguished guests present to honor the awardees were Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker, Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia, and Col. Bryan K. Turner, 192d Fighter Wing commander.

The Air National Guard’s Hometown Heroes program recognizes eligible Airmen who deployed for more than 30 consecutive days for Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Hurricane Katrina and "all other contingency operations “away from home station."

Wyatt, Decker, Long, Turner and Command Chief Master Sgt. Brenda Kirby shook the hand of each of the 217 Airmen recognized, giving them a personal thank you for their service.

The program is a three-tiered recognition system with the first award beginning with a letter signed by the Air Guard director and command chief. This follows with a framed American flag with inset coins for succeeding deployments of 180-365 consecutive days, and an eagle statuette for deployments more than 366 consecutive days.

 

Lt. Gen. Harry “Bud” Wyatt, III, Director of the Air National Guard, recognizes the service and deployments of Airmen from the 192d Fighter Wing along with Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker and Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Long, Jr. the Adjutant General of Virginia, at the Hometown Heroes Salute ceremony held Dec. 4, 2010 at Langley Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Captain Craig T. Carper, Virginia Air National Guard)

Click HERE to download a high resolution version of this photo.

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

Wyatt identified four critical “Pillars of Strength” that ensure our mission is accomplished with the first being the Airman. He noted the F-22 behind him, as impressive as it is to the defense of our country and said “it pales in comparison to the importance of the people I am looking at right now.” 

The second pillar is family, and he acknowledged that the Guard family sacrifices and dedication are critical to the success of the mission.  “None of us can do this job without the support of our family members,” he said.

The third pillar is the value of our employers. Like our family, without the support of employers, the mission could not be accomplished, Wyatt said. 

The final pillar is the community members. Wyatt noted this pillar can be overlooked but is equally as important to our endeavors of the Air National Guard.

In addition to recognizing the Airman, the Hometown Heroes Salute ceremony acknowledges the contributions and sacrifices of their spouses or significant other with an engraved pen and pencil set and their children with personalized dog tags. None of the Airmen’s accomplishments would have been possible without the support of their families, Decker explained.

 

Staff Sgt. Rachel Chambers and Staff Sgt. Derek Chandler enjoy looking at the their Hometown Heroes recognition awards they received from Lt. Gen. Harry “Bud” Wyatt, III, Director of the Air National Guard at the 192d FW Hometown Heroes Ceremony held Dec. 4, 2010 at Langley Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Meaghan Selki, Virginia Air National Guard)

Click HERE to download a high resolution version of this photo.

Click HERE to see more photos from the event on the Virginia National Guard Flickr site.

The Airman’s “center of influence,” which could be anyone who supported their service during this period (employer, friend, etc.), is presented with a medallion of appreciation.

As the last 192d Airman received their award, Turner stepped forward and recognized a very important “center of influence” to the wing. Venner “Ski” Milewski, the Veterans of Foreign War Post 824 commander, was recognized with a medallion of appreciation for the role his post has played in welcoming us to the community and the support given to the 192d Fighter Wing since the move from Byrd Field in Sandston to Langley Air Force Base in 2007.

In addition, Long recognized Decker with a Center of Influence Medallion for her dedication to the betterment of military members and resources in the commonwealth of Virginia.

Following the ceremony, Wyatt participated in a holiday luncheon sponsored by the VFW, a meeting with senior leaders from the 192d where Total Force Integration was discussed and closed out the day with a Town Hall meeting with wing members.

During the town hall meeting, Wyatt spoke on his vision for 2025. He said he believes the people will get us through as the Guard continues to improve and meet the challenges placed upon us and added that by focusing on what we do best, using our available resources, and eliminating the things that are non-essential, the Guard will continue to become more tactically and operationally proficient.

Wyatt also answered questions on the new physical fitness program and the importance of  the program, how traditional Guard members can balance and be successful while working in an active duty environment, and how the Air National Guard may respond to the fiscal challenges that they are facing today and in the future.

Additional reporting by Staff Sgt. Meaghan E. M. Selki

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