157th Salutes Its Heroes
By Tech. Sgt. Angela Stebbins, JFHQ/PA
/ Published September 12, 2010
157th Air Refueling Wing -- The 157th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) held their first N.H. National Guard Hometown Heroes Salute ceremony Aug. 27 at Pease Air National Guard Base. The ceremony recognized approximately 300 Airmen who have deployed since Sep. 11, 2001, and also acknowledged those family and community members who have supported the Airmen during a deployment.
"A guardsman and wingman sit on a four legged stool of support; the legs are the family, the community, the employer, and the Guard," said Maj. Gen. William Reddel III, the Adjutant General of the N.H. National Guard. "While the member is sitting on that stool, they are balancing three balls; their family, their job, and the Guard. It is kind of tricky...sometimes you have to juggle some really close and sometimes you have to throw a ball way up in the sky and the hope is you are going to catch that ball before it gets down to the ground," he said.
During the ceremony, the Airmen received a rosewood encased, framed, personalized letter of appreciation from General McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Muncy, Command Chief Master Sgt. of the Air National Guard. The commemorative Hometown Heroes Salute coin was also enclosed in the frame.
"It is good to recognize everybody that has gone overseas and served," said award recipient Master Sgt. James O'Brien.
In addition, those Airmen with a spouse, significant other and/or with children also received recognition awards to present to them. A spouse received a Hometown Heroes Salute-engraved rosewood pen and pencil set, and the children received unique set of personalized Hometown Heroes Salute dog tags.
"Never did we who served ever forget the reason we could go and do our job with a total focus on the mission. We were always able to do what we did in large part because of those who kept the home fires burning," said William Cray, a representative for the Somersworth N.H. Employment Security Office and disabled Vietnam veteran. "To celebrate the sacrifices that every person who supports or serves our nation is an incredible idea long overdue and to recognize the whole support system...is to be applauded."
"I applaud the extra effort to openly recognize the spouses and children for their extensive family separations," said retired Master Sgt. Charles "Chuck" Handren. "I definitely felt the need to respond and acknowledge this very positive program."