By Lt. Col. Chester C. Carter, III
SANDSTON, Va. – The Virginia Air Guard base in Sandston, Va. played host to mobilization and deployment ceremonies for the second time this month. Earlier the base hosted the deployment of Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation, Virginia Army National Guard. On Jan. 25, family, friends, and well wishers gathered to see 26 men and women of the 192d Security Forces Squadron, Virginia Air National Guard off for a ten-month deployment to Southwest Asia.
The Airmen entered active federal service on Jan. 20, 2006 and began deploying to Creech Air Force Base, Nev. where they will undergo two weeks of training before they travel to Southwest Asia. The group makes of two security force teams. One of the teams will travel to United Arab Emirates with the other team going to Iraq.
Secretary of Public Safety John Marshall, Brig. Gen. Bob Newman, the Adjutant General of the Virginia, and 192d Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Jay Pearsall were among the many gathered to see the Airmen off from Sandston. Pearsall stressed to the Airmen and their families that the families would be taken care of and encouraged the Airmen to focus on their jobs during the deployment. He also said the “Guard shines on these real-world deployments.”
As the rumble of a jet taking off could be heard in the background Marshall told the Airmen that as members of “Team Virginia” they were “already heroes” because of their dedication and commitment to their community, Commonwealth, and country. He went on to say that he was looking forward to welcoming all of the Airmen back in tem months on the completion of their tour of duty.
Newman stressed to the Airmen that their families would be taken care of and told them “Your job is to do your job.” He also told them “Everything you do reflects on the Virginia Air Guard.” He emphasized that regardless of where they may go or what they may do their actions would influence how others view the Virginia Air Guard. He concluded by saying that he appreciated their service to Virginia and the nation.
Following the brief ceremony and farewell the Airmen boarded a bus. The bus, with a Virginia State Police escort passed by emergency first responders from area around the Air Guard base who lined Falcon Rd. to extend their support to the Airmen.