Bulldogs Recognized As Hometown Heroes

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Hall is presented a Hometown Heroes Award from 148th Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Michael Layman during the first Hometown Heroes ceremony on Sept. 12, 2010 at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn.  The Hometown Heroes Award recognizes those Airmen who have deployed for 30 or more consecutive days since Sept. 11, 2001.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Sra Sarah Hayes)

Tech. Sgt. Ryan Hall is presented a Hometown Heroes Award from 148th Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Michael Layman during the first Hometown Heroes ceremony on Sept. 12, 2010 at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn. The Hometown Heroes Award recognizes those Airmen who have deployed for 30 or more consecutive days since Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Sra Sarah Hayes)

148th Fighter Wing leadership prepares to present Hometown Heroes Awards to fellow Airmen during the first Hometown Heroes ceremony on Sept. 12, 2010 at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn.  The Hometown Heroes Award recognizes those Airmen who have deployed for 30 or more consecutive days since Sept. 11, 2001.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by TSgt Amie Dahl)

148th Fighter Wing leadership prepares to present Hometown Heroes Awards to fellow Airmen during the first Hometown Heroes ceremony on Sept. 12, 2010 at the 148th Fighter Wing Air National Guard Base in Duluth, Minn. The Hometown Heroes Award recognizes those Airmen who have deployed for 30 or more consecutive days since Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Air Force Photo by TSgt Amie Dahl)

DULUTH, Minn. -- The 148th Fighter Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard honored more than 500 Airmen and their families in their first Hometown Heroes Salute Award Ceremony at the Duluth Air National Guard Base yesterday.

"This isn't just another award," said Col. Frank Stokes, Wing Commander. "It's special because it comes from our nation's leaders Gen. McKinley and his staff."

The Airmen recognized in the ceremony have deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle and other peace keeping operations across the globe from Sept. 11, 2001 through Dec. 31, 2008 for 30 or more consecutive days.

In August 2008, Gen. Craig R. McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, sanctioned the Air National Guard Hometown Heroes Salute recognition program. The purpose of this program is to celebrate and honor Airmen, families, communities and those special supporters who have significantly contributed to supporting our Airmen and the Air National Guard's mission.

The recognized Airmen received a framed Letter of Appreciation signed by the Air National Guard director and command chief master sergeant that contains the Hometown Heroes Salute coin. The honored Airmen's spouse, or significant other, received an engraved pen/pencil set with the ANG Hometown Heroes Salute Logo and their children received unique Hometown Heroes Salute dog tags.

148th Fighter Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Michael Layman told the assembled Bulldogs that it is their families who have made their nearly continuous deployments since 9/11 possible; that the Hometown Heroes Award recognizes the sacrifices and efforts of those back home.