2010-09-24 / Milestones

Cummins Honored For Combat Service

More than 500 members of the New York Air National Guard received recognition for their service in a combat zone on Sunday, September 12 during the 106th Rescue Wing Hometown Heroes Salute ceremony here.

Technical Sergeant Sean G. Cummins from Rockaway Park, NY, assigned to the 106th Civil Engineering Squadron, was recognized for service overseas.

The Hometown Heroes program recognizes Airmen who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom (operations in Afghanistan) since September 11, 2001.

The Airmen recognized in this ceremony will include those who deployed for more than 30 consecutive days in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle or other contingency operations across the globe.

Airmen receive a framed letter from the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Craig R. McKinley, containing a Hometown Heroes salute challenge coin. Children of the deployed Airmen will also receive unique Hometown Heroes Salute dog tags.

The Air National Guard initiated the program in August 2008 to celebrate and honor our Airmen, families, communities and those special supporters who have significantly contributed to supporting our Airmen and the Air National Guard mission. 106th Rescue Wing:

The wing traces its history back to a balloon company formed by the New York National Guard in 1908, making it 100 years old. In 1915 the unit acquired airplanes and became the 1st Aero Company and conducted the first long-distance mass flight in U.S. military history in 1916.

The 106th Rescue Wing operates HH-60 Pavehawk rescue helicopters and HC-130 Hercules search and rescue aircraft from its base in Westhampton Beach on eastern Long Island. The wing’s wartime mission is to rescue American and Allied personnel lost behind enemy lines, and members of the wing have been deploying regularly to Afghanistan to support military operations there. The wing’s pararescue jumpers are trained to drop behind enemy lines to secure friendly troops, or into the ocean to rescue crewmen from a sinking ship.

The wing has a peacetime mission of providing search and rescue in the North Atlantic when requested by the United States Coast Guard and also deploys regularly to provide rescue capability in support of Space Shuttle launches. The wing’s efforts to rescue a yacht crew in a storm at sea are portrayed in the movie “A Perfect Storm” and in 1998 the wing made the longest over-water rescue in history.

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