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172d AW Heroes Saluted

January 9, 2012 -- With family members and senior Mississippi Air National Guard officials on hand, 172nd Airlift Wing personnel and their family members were saluted for their role in helping the wing to successfully accomplish its missions in support of the United States' global war on terrorism. The Hometown Heroes Salute ceremonies honored more than 400 wing Airmen who have answered the call with extended active duty service since January 1, 2009.
 
At the presentations held on January 7, 2012, the wing's Citizen-Airmen were presented special items in recognition of their service. The awards featured treasured American symbols and were based on the length of an individual's continuous active duty service.

Airmen who served between 30 and 179 consecutive days received a special letter of appreciation with a mounted Hometown Heroes Salute coin, encased in a rosewood frame. The letter was signed by the Director, Air National Guard, General Harry M. Wyatt, III; and the Command Chief of the Air National Guard, Chief Master Sergeant Christopher E. Muncy." The letter was presented on behalf of a grateful nation to a true American hero who answered the nation's call to fly, fight and win.

A folded American flag encased in a rosewood frame was the signature item for airmen who served between 180 and 365 consecutive days. A Hometown Heroes Salute coin was mounted in the frame. 172d members, who served 366 consecutive days or more, received an eagle statue on a wood base with the Hometown Heroes Salute coin mounted in the base.

In addition to each Airman's award, the recognized unit members received items to present to members of their family so that they could further thank them for their vital support while they answered the call to duty. Included among those items was the special Center of Influence Medallion, which they could present to the person who most supported them and their families during their tours of duty.

The medallion is the back side of the Hometown Heroes Salute coin with the words "Hometown Heroes Salute" and "Airman, Family, Community" encircling it. It is attached to a red, white and blue ribbon. The case is inscribed as follows: "We will not waiver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail. George w. Bush, 43rd president of the United States, October 7, 2001."

The unit ceremonies were held at Thompson Field and were presided over by Major General Catherine S. Lutz, Commander, MS Air National Guard, Brigadier General William J. Crisler, Jr., Commander of the 172d Airlift Wing and additional MSANG senior officers and senior enlisted personnel.