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174th Attack Wing commemorates 25th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm

Retired Command Chief Master Sergeant of the 174th Attack Wing, Dave Heckman looks to the flag during the playing of the National Anthem at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base Jan. 9. The 174th Attack Wing celebrated its 25th anniversary of the wing's deployment during Operation Desert Storm with former and current unit members. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Duane Morgan/Released)

Retired Command Chief Master Sergeant of the 174th Attack Wing, Dave Heckman looks to the flag during the playing of the National Anthem at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base Jan. 9. The 174th Attack Wing celebrated its 25th anniversary of the wing's deployment during Operation Desert Storm with former and current unit members. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Duane Morgan/Released)

Retired Maj. Gen. Michael Hall, former wing commander of the 174th Tactical Fighter Wing, speaks to Hancock Field Air National Guard members and their guests during a ceremony recognizing former and current unit members that were deployed during Operation Desert Storm Jan. 9. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Duane Morgan/Released)

Retired Maj. Gen. Michael Hall, former wing commander of the 174th Tactical Fighter Wing, speaks to Hancock Field Air National Guard members and their guests during a ceremony recognizing former and current unit members that were deployed during Operation Desert Storm Jan. 9. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Duane Morgan/Released)

HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The 174th Attack Wing (ATKW) on Hancock Air National Guard Base held a remembrance ceremony, on Saturday Jan. 9, to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the wings participation in Operation Desert Storm, in early 1991. Veterans that served in the 174th Fighter Wing (FW) in Operation Desert Storm were invited to attend the ceremony.

The remembrance ceremony opened with remarks from Col. Greg Semmel, 174th ATKW commander, who was on active-duty when the operation began.

Looking back twenty-five years, many veterans were able to recall the day that they learned they would be deploying in support of the campaign.

"I can guarantee every Desert Storm Veteran sitting here can remember when they got the news that we were going to war," Semmel said.

Desert Storm marked the first deployment of an entirely volunteer force verses previous campaigns that required drafts.

"Operation Desert Storm was the first operation of an all-volunteer force and we did things that can never be imagined to get the job done," Semmel said.

During the event, retired Maj. Gen. Michael Hall, former 174th FW commander, spoke about the history of the wing leading into the unit's entrance into Operation Desert storm.

"The 174th was the organization that proved the Air National Guard could be the total- force," Hall said.

The unit proved they were the total force by playing the unique role as one of the only two Air National Guard units to fly combat missions during the operation.

Twenty-five years after the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, 37 Air National Guard Airman continue to serve at the 174th ATKW alongside 21 veterans who were serving on active-duty or in another branch during Operation Desert Storm.

"It is important for us to remember the history of where we have been because it defines where we are going and type of organization we are," Semmel said.