Flying Yankees Sent Off in Style
By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead, 103rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 10, 2011
BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- Servicemembers and their families, Patriot Guard and base honor guard, commanders and Connecticut's governor all gathered in the main hangar at Bradley Air National Guard Base to say farewell to members of the 103rd Airlift Wing's security forces and civil engineer squadrons July 6, 2011.
Chaplain (Maj.) David Larsen opened the ceremony with a prayer to watch over the Airmen and offered words to honor them for saying yes.
"To recognize this personal choice to solemnly serve, we send them with love and best wishes," said Larsen.
Approximately 80 Connecticut Air National Guardsmen have since deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"After nearly 10 years of war, responding to our nation's call is not new for members of the Connecticut National Guard," said Maj. Gen. Thaddeus Martin, adjutant general for the state of Connecticut and commander of the Connecticut National Guard. "In fact, it's safe to say it is not new to some of the members of these units."
A fact less known is that the Connecticut Air Guard has deployed approximately another 60 additional Airmen to (See Send-Off continued on page 3) various locations in support of the nation's global war on terror, said Martin. Furthermore, according to Martin, an additional 350 or more servicemembers will deploy by this time next year.
"These are trying times; difficult to know exactly who the enemy is at any given moment," said Governor Dannel P. Malloy, commander-in-chief of the Connecticut National Guard, referring to the area of the world they would be going and the trials they would face while there. "In facing those trials understand that we, left behind in Connecticut, respect and admire all of your work--preparatory and unsung," said Malloy.
"Their ability to serve would not be possible without the love and support of the families that surround them," said Martin. Those families will become the Connecticut Guard's top priority in the next coming months and can expect a heightened level of awareness to their needs and a focus on helping them get through the difficult time associated with deployment separation, he said.
"To the family member, please understand, your state stands with you and that we are prepared to answer your call," said Malloy.
The ceremony ended with each squadron receiving a Connecticut state flag to fly at their deployed locations and a long round of applause for the Airmen.