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Connecticut's AOG reaches 100th deployment milestone

Lt. Col. John M. Girnius poses for a picture while deployed to the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in Southwest Asia, serving as the Chief, Combat Operations, and supervising more than 120 U.S. and Coalition forces. Lt. Col. Girnius’ deployment in March 2012 marks the 100th individual deployment milestone for the 103rd Air Operations  Group, Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn.  (Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. John M. Girnius)

Lt. Col. John M. Girnius poses for a picture while deployed to the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in Southwest Asia, serving as the Chief, Combat Operations, and supervising more than 120 U.S. and Coalition forces. Lt. Col. Girnius’ deployment in March 2012 marks the 100th individual deployment milestone for the 103rd Air Operations Group, Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. (Photo courtesy of Lt. Col. John M. Girnius)

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- Lt. Col. John M. Girnius of the 103rd Air Operations Group deployed last month for the group's 100th individual deployment to the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in Southwest Asia.

"It's a huge milestone for the AOG and the wing," said Col. Peter J. DePatie, 103rd AOG commander. "Thanks to all of the wing organizations who have supported us in this endeavor; we could not have done it without them."

Girnius, who is serving as the Chief of Combat Operations, supervises more than 120 U.S. and Coalition forces in the daily execution of the Air Tasking Order. As the leader of the Combat Operations floor, Girnius is tasked with integrating and executing missions and providing operational command and control for coalition and joint air and space operations across the 20-nation U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility.

"Being the 100th deployer is really an honor," said Girnius. "But the real honor and thanks go to all the folks that have volunteered and supported this mission, putting aside personal interests and stepping up to the plate to serve."

The AOG is comprised of a wide range of specialties, programs and processes ready to execute day-to-day combined air and space operations and provide rapid reaction, positive control, coordination and de-confliction of weapons systems. To that end, the group has deployed Airmen to serve at nearly every level of the mission since its first deployment to the CAOC in December of 2008.

"I have said many times that the CAOC simply could not operate without the support the 103rd AOG has provided. This is a remarkable milestone and you should all be quite proud," said Col. Frank Detorie, commander, 103rd Airlift Wing.

The 100th deployment milestone came just before the state leadership announced the 103rd AOG will deactivate in early 2013. Despite this news, the unit is still supporting the mission in Southwest Asia.

"The 103rd AOG has been a tremendous boost to the capabilities at the CAOC and to the war effort. I believe our support will be missed here," said Girnius. "There is a sense of pride serving here at the CAOC as a member of the Connecticut Air National Guard and the 103rd AOG."

Positive comments on the frequency of AOG's deployments to the CAOC are, "...indicative of the appreciation and thanks that the active-duty counterparts have for us, as members of the 103rd AOG," Girnius said.

"The AOG did a remarkable job in building a world-class organization from the ground up here at the wing," said Col. Fred Miclon, vice commander, 103rd Airlift Wing.