News release from the North Dakota Air National Guard:
Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 1,800 airmen have deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism. This year, on the weekend of the anniversary of Sept. 11, the Happy Hooligans will honor many of these brave men and women during their first-ever â€œHometown Heroes Saluteâ€ that will take place on Sept. 11 in Fargo and Sept. 12 in Minot.Â Â
â€œEvery day, we have airmen serving abroad, away from their loved ones, protecting our country, and because they often deploy in small numbers, we want to ensure they receive the recognition they deserve for their service,â€ Gov. John Hoeven said in a statement.Â â€œThe Hometown Heroes Salute is a great opportunity to honor these men and women and their families, and thank them for serving our state and nation.â€Â Â
In addition to Hoeven, Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North DakotaÂ adjutant general, and Col. Rick Gibney, 119th Wing commander, will speak at the Fargo ceremony on Sept. 11, which will be dedicated to honoring more than 300 North Dakota airmen and their families.Â
Â The following day, the Happy Hooligans will honor their Guardsmen from the Minot-based 219th Security Forces Squadron at Bud Ebert Park, Minot Air Force Base.Â Thirteen airmen will be recognized during the event. Â
â€œThese Hometown Heroes Salute ceremonies are happening in conjunction with â€˜Family Dayâ€™ events in Fargo and in Minot. This is fitting because not only are we honoring our airmen who have deployed, but we are also taking the time to thank the families who support these airmen. Without that strong support of the families, the airmen could not effectively do their mission. Every airman who is courageous enough to deploy and serve their country deserves to be recognized for their sacrifices,â€ Sprynczynatyk said. Â
The airmenÂ being recognized will receive an award for serving more than 30 consecutive days away from home station between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2008.