- With excitement and anxiety 27 members of the 104th Fighter Wing’s Security Forces and Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit stood proudly in formation during the wing’s official send-off ceremony at Barnes Air National Guard base here, Dec 21, 2010.
For the fifth time in nearly five years the members from the security forces squadron will be heading overseas in support of operations in the central command area of responsibility. In addition, a member of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit will also be traveling overseas; the EOD members rotate in and out of the AOR. With limited manning, each year, one of the four team members is engaged in contingency operations overseas.
With family members surrounding the formation, Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard, along with state and local officials, addressed these warrior-airmen.
“You should be proud of your impact on this nation,” said Carter. “History will proclaim to generations not yet born, that you served with distinction and honor, defending the freedoms we all enjoy.”
Nearly one half of the deploying group is preparing for their first overseas operation, fresh out of school and trained in the most advanced weapons systems and tactics, these members will be providing air base defense; securing American and coalition forces, engaged in a new Operations in Iraq supporting Operation New Dawn.
Col. Robert Brooks, commander, 104th Fighter Wing, was in the Kobar Towers, when an insurgent detonated a bomb, killing 19 Airmen. He said that if it wasn’t for the selfless actions of a security force member, Staff Sgt. Alfredo Guerrero, more would have been killed. He used this account to inspire the Airmen to be vigilant and know that their actions can and will have a measurable positive impact on the war overseas, just as they have supporting the homeland defense mission here at home.
“I am excited to serve,” said Airman Christopher Krutka. “This is my first opportunity to deploy and I was very happy that my family was able to come to the ceremony to support me.”
The unit, commanded by Maj. Steve Reynolds will be deploying in a few weeks, following the New Year, and will be returning near Independence Day. During his remarks, Maj. Reynolds stressed how important families are to the deploying Airman. He later introduced all the family members in attendance to Sandy Wakefield the Family Support Coordinator and explained that she was there to support them, as they support their deployed family members.