Senator visits Pease Air National Guard Base
By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt, 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 03, 2012
PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte visited here Feb. 23 to posthumously award a Bronze Star Medal to a World War II veteran's brother and to fly with the 157th Air Refueling Wing on a refueling mission high above New Hampshire and Vermont.
Awarded the Bronze Star was Philip Sangenario, who was an Army National Guard private and among the first paratroopers to parachute into Normandy, France, on D-Day as a member of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
Receiving the medals on his behalf was his brother, John Sangenario, who worked tirelessly with the Senator's office to honor his brother's service and sacrifice during World War II. Philip passed away in 1991.
"This is righting an injustice that needs to be righted," said Ayotte. "Can you imagine the courage it took to jump from that plane on D-Day, not knowing what would happen?"
Ayotte thanked wing personnel who participated in the ceremony and felt their presence was important to it.
Thank you for hosting this ceremony, it really means so much to have the military here and involved in it, said Ayotte.
After the ceremony, the senator received a wing mission brief by Col. Paul Hutchinson, the 157th Air Refueling Wing commander, which among other things, discussed the success of the New Hampshire Air National Guard.
Not unfamiliar with that success, Ayotte was clear in her appreciation for what the guard accomplishes every day.
"Let me be clear, we could not have fought in Iraq. We could not have fought in Afghanistan. We could not have been involved in Libya without the Guard and Reserve," said Ayotte, who sits on the Senate Armed Forces Committee.
Recognizing the value for state partnerships, as the New Hampshire National Guard has with El Salvador, Ayotte agreed that it's critical in the communication process with other countries.
"Those military to military relationships make such a difference for us and our ability to communicate with other countries," said Ayotte. "These countries have respect for the United States military."
Hutchinson also added the strategic need for the wing to receive the next generation tanker aircraft, the KC-46A and rewarding those units that are proven to be successful.
Go to units who are already performing and have a long history of success, said Hutchinson.
Ayotte then traveled out to the flight line to participate in a two-hour refueling mission of a C-17 cargo air-craft from Dover Air Force Base.
Thoroughly impressed with the ceremony, the success of the wing and the refueling mission, Ayotte left the air national guard base more ready to support them.