Approximately 500 current and former members of the 137th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), Oklahoma Air National Guard, and their families were recognized recently at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City for their service to the state and nation.

The Air National Guard's Hometown Heroes Salute is a nationwide program meant to honor more than 53,000 Airmen nationwide who have deployed in support of major operations since Sept. 11, 2001. This was the first of many ceremonies to be held throughout the year.

The 137 ARW is dedicated to enhancing global reach by serving the nation, state and community. Since 9/11, Airmen from 137 ARW and tenant units have served a combined total of more than 259,500 days in support of the Global War on Terror both at home and overseas.

Many Airmen have deployed multiple times to both Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of deployed members have been traditional guardsmen from across Oklahoma and neighboring states who have civilian careers.

Prior to 2007, the 137 ARW was designated as the 137th Airlift Wing and flew the C-130 Hercules. Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) recommendations realigned the wing's mission to fly and maintain KC-135R aircraft charged with mid-air refueling.

The 137th's supporting units provide medical care, civil engineering, communicative, logistical, security and various custom needs of the Air Force mission which ensure capabilities are met both in-garrison and abroad.

In addition, units provide nationwide disaster relief as well as local community support.

"I am proud of the contributions of National Guard members," said Gen. Craig R. McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau. "They are well-trained, well-led, professional, dedicated and very patriotic. That's why we're the successful force we are."

"The fact is, we belong to the citizens and we're here to protect their lives and their property in the event of any kind of disaster, whether it is a manmade or natural disaster. This is an opportunity to thank Airmen and their loved ones who have honored the military with their commitment, hard work and sacrifice," said Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, adjutant general for Oklahoma.





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During the Hometown Heroes ceremony each Air National Guardsmen was presented with a framed certificate, a commemorative medallion, a laser inscribed pen set and a set of commemorative dog tags for each of their children.





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Oklahoma Air Guardsman, Command Chief Master Sgt. Pam Geberth, holds her framed certificate during a hometown heroes ceremony at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City. Standing to Geberth's right is Maj. Gen. Myles Deering, the Adjutant General for Oklahoma, and to her left is Col. Gregory Ferguson, commander of the 137th Air Refueling Wing.

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