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Hometown Heroes Salute to Hancock Field Members

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York -- 135 members of Hancock Field Air National Guard base were presented with Hometown Hero awards during a ceremony held in the aircraft hangar on February 9, 2014.

The award was presented to members who were deployed in support of a contingency operation between March 2012 and January 2014.

There were three tiers of awards: Tier 1 members were deployed between 31 and 179 days; Tier 2 members were deployed between 180 and 365 days; and Tier 3 members were deployed for more than 365 days.

Tier 1 awards consist of a letter of appreciation encased in a rosewood frame with two Hometown Heroes salute coins mounted on the frame and personalized with the Airman's name. Tier 2 awards consist of an American flag framed with the Airman's name and containing two inset Hometown Heroes salute coins. Tier 3 awards consist of an eagle statue personalized with the Airman's name and including the inscription "Guardian of freedom and justice, wingman, leader, warrior."

"I am very grateful to receive the award, but I just felt like I was doing my job," said Tech. Sgt. Paulette Gardner, 152nd AOG knowledge operations.

Other award winners felt like being recognized in front of family, friends and other unit members is a highlight of their career.

"Peer recognition is huge in any job, even more so in the military," said Tech. Sgt. Edward Scalise, 152nd AOG intelligence analyst. "Being recognized by my peers as a hometown hero is something special."

Families of the award winners were presented with small gifts for their part in supporting unit members.

The Hometown Heroes Salute program was created to celebrate and honor Airmen, families, communities and special supporters who have significantly contributed to supporting the Airmen and Air National Guard's mission. It is an NGB-funded program in which funding is only for the production of the awards, special supporter's gifts, HHS unit banners, and the shipping costs of the items to each unit.

The program was initiated in August of 2008.

"This highlights Central New York and Central New York Families," said Lt. Col. Robert Ross, 152nd AOG director of staff.