War on Terrorism

Monday, January 11, 2010

18th Air Refueling Wing Guardsmen awarded for post-Sept. 11 service

Date: January 11, 2010
By Sr. Airman Ryan Kuntze
128th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The 128th Air Refueling Wing recognized 253 of its Airmen during a Hometown Heroes Salute award ceremony held at 1 pm Saturday, Jan. 9 at Gen. Mitchell Air Field. "This is a small thing to do for the things [the Airmen of the 128th ARW] do for us," said Brig. Gen. Don Dunbar, the Adjutant General of Wisconsin.

"We knew this was the right thing to do, to recognize people for their efforts," Brig. Gen, John McCoy added. McCoy is the commander of the Wisconsin Air National Guard.

Wing members from airman first class to colonel were recognized for their post-Sept. 11, 2001, service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle.

Nearly 1,000 family members, fellow Airmen and senior leadership officials attended the ceremony in the main base hangar. The recipients received individualized wood-framed letters of appreciation and Centers of Influence medallions, both of which were made possible by the contributions of the National Guard Bureau.

Col. Ted Metzgar, commander of the 128th Air Refueling Wing said his Airmen are rarely all in one place at one time, and that it can be difficult to understand the commitment of the 128th's Airmen. Furthermore, he said Airmen commit a large amount of time and effort to being qualified for a military career, prepared for a full-time civilian job and ready for a worldwide deployment.

"I am very humbled by today's experience," Metzgar said.

The 253 Airmen were announced one at a time onto the stage, where they were received by Dunbar, McCoy and Metzgar. Awards in hand, the recipients shared a handshake with the senior leadership officials before returning to their seats.

The Hometown Heroes Salute program was started in August 2008 by the director of the Air National Guard. The director's goal was to celebrate and honor Airmen, families, communities and special supporters who have significantly contributed to fellow Airmen and to the ANG's mission.

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