Welcome Home ceremony Sunday for 210 Airmen from Del. Air Guard after three to six months' duty in Southwest Asia and other locations

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Delaware National Guard and 166th Airlift Wing leadership will host a Welcome Home ceremony Sunday afternoon Oct. 16, 2011 for just over 210 Airmen from various groups and squadrons of the Delaware Air National Guard, and their families. The event will recognize the Airmen after they have completed missions lasting from three to six months in various locations in Southwest Asia, Europe and the U.S., but primarily in Afghanistan, and chiefly in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Welcome Home ceremony begins promptly at 1:30 p.m. Sunday Oct. 16. Dozens of family members and friends, plus civilian dignitaries, elected officials, and other invited guests will attend, but the event is not open to the public.

The returning Airmen are primarily residents of Del., Pa., Md., and N.J., with several from other states.

The returning Airmen are from various Delaware Air Guard units. They are comprised of flyers and mission specialists of the 166th Operations Group (over 80 Airmen), C-130 aircraft maintainers of the 166th Maintenance Group (over 70 Airmen), aeromedical evacuation specialists of the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (over 40 Airmen), a security forces Airman of 166th Security Forces Squadron, various specialists of the 166th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and a couple firefighters plus a bomb disposal expert from the 166th Civil Engineer Squadron.

"Combat zone and combat-related deployments are the most demanding work performed by our Airmen," said 166th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Jonathan H. Groff. "Our Airmen have done it all, and done it well. From maintaining, launching and flying our C-130 aircraft day and night in demanding and often austere combat zone environments, quickly transporting our injured heroes to receive urgent medical care and be reunited with their loved ones, keeping our coalition forces secure inside and outside their bases, moving and supplying troops with equipment, food, weapons, and other materials, having fire-fighters and equipment at the ready 24/7, and reducing the threat from improvised explosive devices, these Airmen served our nation and our coalition partners with distinction. They and their families deserve our thanks."

The Delaware ANG has 1,100 members, and continually deploys personnel and subordinate units around the globe.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.
Delaware Air National Guard:
Celebrating 65 years of Citizen-Airman service to our state and nation, 1946-2011
Note: This is a corrected release; original figure of just over 220 Airmen corrected to read just over 210 Airmen, and the number of 166th Security Forces Squadron Airmen changed from over a dozen Airmen to one Airman.

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Media contact:

News media are invited, but are asked to call ahead, and to arrive no later than 1:00 p.m. The event will be held inside the new aircraft maintenance hangar on base, 2600 Spruance Drive, New Castle, DE 19720. Media should enter the base from Commons Boulevard and follow the signs for "Delaware Air National Guard."

Contact Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Matwey, Public Affairs specialist, (302) 323-3369, or cell (302) 593-2126.