News: Airmen honored at Hometown Heroes Event
FARGO, N.D. — Hundreds of members from the 119th Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard were honored during a Hometown Heroes Ceremony that took place at the Air Guard base in Fargo on Saturday. In addition to the ceremony, a bronze star medal was awarded to Col. Rick Gibney for meritorious service performed in Afghanistan.
“This event is a wonderful opportunity to recognize our North Dakota Airmen and their families for their exemplary service to our state and nation over the past few years,” said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. “These hometown heroes consistently stepped up when their country called and performed their missions with great skill and success. We are grateful to them and their families for their willingness to serve and sacrifice in defense of our homeland and our way of life.”
The Airmen were honored for serving on active-duty orders between Jan. 1, 2011 and Sept. 30, 2013. They were recognized in three groups: Tier 1 awards were given to those who served on orders for 30-170 consecutive days, Tier 2 awards were given to those who served on orders for 180-365 consecutive days, and Tier 3 awards were given to those who served on orders more than 365 consecutive days.
"Since Sept. 11, 2001, we've had more than 2,400 Airmen from the 119th Wing deploy, and we've had Airmen on military orders every single day since that day," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, N.D. adjutant general, during the ceremony. "To the 200 plus Airman that we're going to recognize today, thank you for your service and sacrifices. I appreciate the fact that you continue to serve your country and state."
During the event, Airmen walked across a stage and shook hands with distinguished guests in recognition of their service. Each Guardsman was also given a Center of Influence medallion to present to the person of their choosing in recognition of that person's support during the mission.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 4,000 Soldiers and more than 2,400 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. About 70 percent of all members serving today have joined since that time. Currently, more than 80 North Dakota Guardsmen are mobilized for overseas service and more than 200 are on duty in Washington, D.C., and in Texas. With a total force of about 4,400 Guardsmen, the North Dakota National Guard remains ready for stateside response and national defense. For every 10,000 citizens in North Dakota, 65 serve in the North Dakota National Guard, a rate that’s more than four times the national average.