Security Forces Airmen return from Deployment
By Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 09, 2013
PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore., --
After more than six months deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, 26 members of the 142nd Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadron returned here to the excitement of family members, friends and co-workers, who were on hand to greet them.
The Airmen departed for Al Udeid, Qatar in early Jan. of this year after pre-deployment training at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
Speaking to the members as they began their in processing phase, Brig. Gen. Michael Stencel, Oregon Assistant Adjutant General - Air, addressed the Airmen and related his experience at Qatar, having been deployed there a year before.
"It feels especially good to welcome you back having gone through that exact experience," he said.
As part of their assignment of providing 24/7 protection, members separated into different shifts and sectors, covering flightline security, base patrol, vehicle search areas and supply.
"I can already tell that you have matured and gone through many challenges during your time away," said Stencel.
Talking about all of the new changes within the Oregon National Guard since their deployment, Stencel introduced the new Oregon Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Daniel Hokanson to the Airmen. Hokanson officially took over for Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, who retired on July 31.
"Your reputation precedes you, having had Gen. Rees tell me everything about your work prior to going into this deployment," said Hokanson.
Working on multiple mission sets, the group conducted a wide range of security operations for the largest transit hub in the U.S. Central Command.
"I know you did a great job and everything I've heard about your work has been extremely positive," said Hokanson.
As part of their in processing, the Airmen gathered to take time to reflect on their mission with refreshments donated by local business and sponsored by the United Service Organizations (USO). This also gave Oregon National Guard Leaders a chance to spend some personal time and thank their troops in a less formal manner.
"It's just good to have you guys home and safe," said Col. Rick Wedan, 142nd Fighter Wing Commander, as he took time to interact with unit members one-on-one.
Hearing stories from the Airmen about the extreme heat and temperatures in Qatar while they were deployed, Wedan joked about the conditions in his office over the last few months.
"A few times, I have complained about the air conditioning not working in my office during the summer, but I've got nothing on you guys," he said.
Airmen later had briefings from Family Programs, the base finance office, personnel, medical and others as they began the process of reintegration.
A formal demobilization ceremony is planned for later in October of this year.
Previous to this deployment, the 142nd Fighter Wing Security Forces supported Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Hurricane Katrina.