Sept. 15, 2011

Virginia Air Guard salutes their Hometown Heroes

By Master Sgt. Carlos J. Claudio    
192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. – The Virginia Air National Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing honored 130 Airmen and their families at the Hometown Heroes Salute Award Ceremony at Langley Air Force Base Sept. 11, 2011.

 

The Virginia Air National Guard's 192nd Fighter Wing honored 130 Airmen and their families at the Hometown Heroes Salute Award Ceremony at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Sept. 11, 2011. More than 300 guests attended the ceremony, which recognized Guardsmen that deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle and other peacekeeping operations across the globe from Sept. 11, 2001 to April 15, 2010, who have not previously been recognized. (Photo by James R. Orbin, 192nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

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More than 300 guests attended the ceremony, which recognized Guardsmen who deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle and other peacekeeping operations across the globe from Sept. 11, 2001 to April 15, 2010, who have not previously been recognized.

Col. Bryan K. Turner, 192nd Fighter Wing commander, told the audience, "We are here to honor these men and women before us, who some of us know as colleagues, some of us call them friends, and for some of you, you just call them mom and dad, but they all have one thing in common which is they have all been labeled heroes.

"As wing commander, I go to many events, whether hosting or attending for the 192nd Fighter Wing and I can tell you this one, in my heart, is the most significant," he told the audience. "That can be attested by the presence of our special guests and the fact that this award is not being presented on behalf of the wing, Major General Long or the state, but on behalf of the Air National Guard."

Brig. Gen. Wayne A. Wright, Virginia Air Guard Chief of Staff, applauded the Guardsmen for their sense of volunteerism.

"All of us in this room who are in uniform raised our right hand and took an oath and we swore to defend and protect the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic," Wright said.  "The 130 folks that we’re honoring today did that.  They all stood up.  They all volunteered and they all took that oath when it came time to do that.

"It’s the citizen Airman or Soldier that's willing to serve and willing to give that time," Wright continued.  "We’re asking citizen Airmen or Soldiers for their willingness to walk away from their civilian jobs and their families, and often times, it’s going to be abnormal service. So I wanted to thank those in the field for that."

In August 2008, Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, sanctioned the ANG Hometown Heroes Salute recognition program to celebrate and honor Airmen, families, communities and those special supporters who have significantly contributed to supporting our Airmen and the ANG's mission.

In order to properly recognize the sacrifices of eligible Guardsmen, awards are presented in a three-phase campaign. Phase I includes all eligible ANG members deployed for 30-179 consecutive days. Phase II includes members deployed for more than 180 consecutive days.  Phase III includes members deployed 366 days or more.

All recognized Airmen receive a framed letter of appreciation signed by the ANG director and command chief master sergeant and a Hometown Heroes Salute coin. Members recognized in phase II, depending on their deployment length, also receive a framed American flag or Hometown Heroes eagle statue.

The honored Airman's spouse or significant other receives an engraved pen and pencil set, while their children receive unique Hometown Heroes Salute dog tags. Lastly, each honored Airman receives a medallion to recognize their center of influence for outstanding support during their deployment.

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