NJ Air National Guard Members Deploy To Southwest Asia

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JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST — More than 25 Airmen from the 108th Wing’s Security Force Squadron deployed from here today for a six-month tour in Southwest Asia in support of Operation New Dawn.

Amidst family members and senior leadership from the 108th Wing and New Jersey Air National Guard, the 108th SFS Airmen said goodbye to their loved ones during a farewell ceremony held at the 108th Wing’s conference room here.

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Senior Airman Omar J. Navarro, a Newark resident and recent college graduate, said he was a little nervous about the deployment, but he was also excited at the opportunity.

“My sister and mother have both been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq and they told me I would be alright,” said Navarro. “My father is a nervous wreck, though.”

After a couple of weeks of training in Nevada to hone their security forces skills, the Airmen will deploy to Southwest Asia to commence the mission.

The 108th SFS Airmen are well-equipped and well-prepared to accomplish their mission, said Col. Robert A. Meyer, vice commander for the 108th Wing.

Maj. Gen. Maria Falca-Dodson, commander of the New Jersey Air National Guard, told the family members that they should be proud of their Airmen for serving in the military.

“They are American heroes,” said Falca-Dodson. “Only one percent of the population in the United States serves in the military and these are some of them.”

During their deployment, the Airmen will conduct air base ground defense missions, which may include perimeter patrols, flight line security, vehicle searches, and processing personnel at base entry points.

Maj. Gen. Maria Falca-Dodson, right, commander New Jersey Air National Guard, speaks to a group of deploying Airmen and their families July 12. More than 25 Airmen from the 108th Security Force Squadron deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation New Dawn. (Photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen)

Senior Airman Jason M. Cullen receives a hug from his wife prior to deploying July 12. More than 25 Security Forces Squadron Airmen from the 108th Wing deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to Southwest Asia in support of Operation New Dawn. (Photo by Master Sgt. Mark C. Olsen)

Senior Airman Heather Perez climbs aboard a 108th Wing KC-135R Stratotanker on July 12. Perez is part of a group of approximately 30 Airmen from the 108th Security Force Squadron that deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to Southwest Asia in support of Operation New Dawn.


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