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Once again into the breach

On Saturday, Feb.25, Capt. Kevin Smith, 107th Airlift Wing's Security Forces Commander, Senior Master Sgt. Mark Hajuk, Security Forces Manager, Senior Master Sgt. Dean Tuthill and Master Sgt. Shawn Larrabee sent off their Security Forces Airmen to Afghanistan where they will be assigned to a joint ground combat force.  (Air Force Photo/SMSgt Ray Lloyd)

On Saturday, Feb.25, Capt. Kevin Smith, 107th Airlift Wing's Security Forces Commander, Senior Master Sgt. Mark Hajuk, Security Forces Manager, Senior Master Sgt. Dean Tuthill and Master Sgt. Shawn Larrabee sent off their Security Forces Airmen to Afghanistan where they will be assigned to a joint ground combat force. (Air Force Photo/SMSgt Ray Lloyd)

Niagara Falls Reserve Station -- Approximately thirteen members of the New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing departed Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station on Saturday, February 25 for a three week intensive training event at Fort Bliss, Texas. There, they will hone their combat skills prior to forward deploying overseas to Afghanistan. Family members, friends and fellow airmen gathered to bid them farewell as they boarded an aircraft to depart for their six month tour of duty.

Once forward deployed, members of the 107th Security Forces Squadron will be assigned as part of a joint ground combat force protecting a key airfield in country. Their duties will include securing the perimeter and entry control points, mobile and foot patrols and operating as part of the response force ensuring that air and associated ground operations originating from their area of responsibility continue unimpeded by hostile events or forces.

This veteran team is made up of eleven members that have previously deployed overseas serving in Iraq. All members have participated in numerous deployments stateside and overseas locations providing security for US and coalition assets. Additionally, members of the team have participated in domestic operations deploying to both exercise and real world events, most recently in support of Hurricane Irene operations to assist fellow New Yorkers in their time of need. Approximately 45 members of the 107th Airlift Wing were part of the 900 member task force the National Guard mobilized at the direction of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in response to the hurricane.

"Whether it's a wartime contingency or a humanitarian effort, the men and women of the 107th Airlift Wing have an outstanding history of being ready and able when called upon," said Col Jim McCready, 107th Airlift Wing Commander. This is another example of our air guardsmen answering the "call to arms". We wish them Godspeed and look forward to welcoming them home upon their return."

"These defenders exhibit the spirit of the New York Air National Guard in word and deed. Time and again they step up to meet the challenges without question, performing the duties without hesitation and achieving 100 percent success," said Senior Master Sergeant Mark Hajduk, Security Forces Manager. "It is a tribute to those who have gone before them and a model for those that will follow. I commend them and their families for their service and sacrifice. From these and all the airmen assigned to the 107th Security Forces Squadron, I would expect no less, that's how they roll!"