Joint Freedom Salute Honors Connecticut Airmen, Soldiers

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jefferson S. Heiland
  • 103rd Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
Connecticut Army and Air National Guard units as well as individual deployers were honored in a "Freedom Salute" ceremony at the 103rd Airlift Wing March 31, 2012.

The 103rd Security Forces Squadron (SFS), 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron (CES), the 192nd Engineer Battalion, the 1109th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group (TASMG), the Aviation Depot Maintenance Roundout Unit (ADMRU) from the Connecticut National Guard as well as individual deployers who mobilized, deployed and recently returned were recognized for answering the call to duty in support of the Global War on Terror.

"To the Soldiers...along with the Airmen of the 103rd, I say thank you for the extraordinary service you've rendered to America. I am honored to be able to call you all Connecticut Guardsmen," said Maj. Gen. Thad Martin, The Adjutant General and commander of the Connecticut National Guard.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also expressed his thanks to the Soldiers and Airmen.

"A great nation calls upon its greatest individuals--to serve it, and to defend it," Gov. Malloy said. "I could not be prouder than I am of these individuals whose accomplishments we celebrate today."

Members of the 103rd SFS were recognized for their duties while assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit departed Connecticut in July 2011 and returned this past January.

The unit performed duties ranging from Improved Explosive Device (IED) screening of vehicles to command and control for the Joint Defense Operations Center. Additionally, members provided internal perimeter and counter insurgency operations while providing 24/7 response capabilities to mitigate direct and indirect attacks targeting peacekeeping forces on the installation.

Members of the 103rd CES were recognized for their duties while also assigned to the Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. The unit departed in July 2011 and returned last month.
During the deployment the 103rd CES was part of an Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force (BEEF) squadron and performed light construction and facility repair operations including plumbing, electric, HVAC, power production and distribution, as well as other engineering tasks.

The 103rd Air Operations Group (AOG) deployed 25 members in support of combat operations across the globe. These Airmen provided command and control of airpower throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and 18 other nations.

The AOG's mission responsibilities included the coordination of sortie execution; close-air support/precision air strike; intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance; airlift; air refueling; aerial evaluation; air drop and other mission critical operations.

The members of a Detachment from the 192nd Engineer Battalion were recognized for their service while deployed to Kosovo. The unit departed Connecticut in January 2011 and returned last November.

While in Kosovo the unit's mission was to maintain a safe and secure environment for all of Kosovo under the NATO mandate. The unit performed planning, operations, logistics and liaison duties across Kosovo and the Balkans in three main areas: Pristina (Kosovo), Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Camp Bondsteel (Kosovo).

The members of the 1109th TASMG ADMRU were recognized for their service while deployed to Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. The unit deployed in October 2010 and returned in October 2011.

The 12-person detachment deployed as part of the Aviation Depot Maintenance Roundout Unit (ADMRU) that operated the Theater Aviation Maintenance Program, an aviation maintenance Task Force comprised of National Guard units from five other states, providing aircraft maintenance and logistics support to the entire Southwest Asia area of responsibility.

"When you call out the National Guard, you call out America. When you call out the Connecticut National Guard, you call out the best in America," said U.S. Senator for Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal.

Currently there are more than 150 Soldiers and Airmen from the Connecticut National Guard mobilized and deployed to Southwest Asia with more than 700 Soldiers and Airmen expected to be mobilized and deployed by the end of the year.