March 9, 2011

Hometown Heroes Salute honors 200th Weather Flight

By Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

SANDSTON, Va. — Airmen from the Sandston-based 200th Weather Flight were honored for their worldwide contingency deployments at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post 9808 near Richmond during a Hometown Heroes Salute March 5. Friends and family members of the seven Airmen filled the VFW hall to honor their Airmen alongside special guests, Brig. Gen. Wayne A. Wright, Virginia Air National Guard chief of staff, Chief Master Sgt. Jeffrey W. Frazier, Virginia Air National Guard command chief master sergeant and Chief Master Sgt. Christopher M. Rambali, chief enlisted manager of weather operations division for the Air Combat Command.

 

Airmen from the Sandston-based 200th Weather Flight are honored for their support of world-wide contingency operations service at the VFW in Mechanicsville, Va. during a Hometown Heroes Salute March 5. The Hometown Heroes Salute program recognized the seven Airmen for their outstanding efforts to support the nation by presenting each member a framed Hometown Heroes Salute coin with a letter of appreciation signed by the Air National Guard director and command chief master sergeant. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt.
Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)


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

The special guests thanked the Airmen for the sacrifices the Guardsmen made to serve their country and the commonwealth by leaving their full-time jobs and families to deploy with the Air Force on weather missions around the world. The guest speakers also took the time to honor the families, the friends and the employers of the Airmen who made their deployments possible.

“It’s a small token of appreciation for what these men and women do,” said Wright about the Hometown Heroes Salute program and its intent. “It’s a way of saying thank you for all the different operations  you guys have been supporting, Noble Eagle, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Hurricane Katrina and countless other operational contingencies we’ve been in.”

“The program also reaches out to say thank you to the families, and thank you to the communities, and thank you to the employers,” Wright said. “Thanks for the continued, undying support from the families.”

“It’s not easy what we do; it’s a privilege what we do. You should all be very proud of what you’ve done and your families should be just as proud.”

Following the thankful words from the distinguished visitors, the men and women of the 200th Weather Flight were presented with several items to show the nation’s appreciation of their sacrifices. The warriors were also given gifts to present to their families for their dedication and support.

 

Senior Master Sgt. Steve Gamache presents Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Rambali with a center of influence medallion at the VFW in Mechanicsville, Va. March 5. Rambali was presented the medal for his continued support of the 200th Weather Flight. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

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

“Today we are presenting our citizen-Airmen and their supporters with some special items,” said Col. Steven R. Swetnam, Virginia National Guard director of intelligence. “Every Air National Guard family member has proudly served and supported the Air National Guard mission.  We hope that every spouse, or significant other, child and extended family member knows the important role that they have in what we do.”

A letter of appreciation encased in a rosewood frame was presented to the men and women of the weather flight. The letter is signed by the director of the Air National Guard and the command chief master sergeant and is an appreciation to the American heroes in recognition of their service and sacrifice in the cause of freedom.

A rosewood pen/pencil set with the HHS logo engraved was presented to the Airman’s spouse or significant other.

An HHS logo engraved dog tag was presented to each child.

Each Airman was given a center of influence medallion to present to someone they fell supported them and their family during their extended absence.

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 Airmen and the ANG’s mission.

Recognized in this ceremony are Guardsmen that have deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle and other peacekeeping operations across the globe.

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