Senator DeGazon bids farewell to deploying airmen from the VI Air National Guard
Starting next week, family and friends of airmen in the Virgin Islands Air National Guard will bid them farewell for several months, thus Sen. Allison DeGazon and several other dignitaries honored them for their service at a ceremony on Monday at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport.
DeGazon said the notice of deployment left her and others with feelings of relief, but also of sorrow.
“I am relieved and honored that we have such fine and prepared airmen brave enough to face deployment. On the other hand, I am saddened because our community has to say farewell for a long time,” DeGazon said.
The senator wished the airmen of the 285th Civil Engineering Squadron well in their endeavors as they prepare to join other units in the nation in protecting the country.
“I pray that this deployment serves as positive work experience and opens many doors of opportunity for our brothers and sisters. Our hearts and prayers will be with each one until they return home safely,” DeGazon said.
Adjutant Gen. Col. Kodjo Knox-Limbacker said the Department of Defense called on the 285 CES for their unique skills. According to Knox-Limbacker, the 285th CES will be deploying in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel and Operation Inherent Resolve.
“I am confident they are trained, manned and equipped to execute the missions they are tasked to complete,” Knox-Limbacker said.
Maj. Ryan Barry, Commander and Base Civil Engineer for the 285th CES, said the airmen were part of the territory’s first responders and this month, they will also be responding to the nation’s call.
“I assure you that these airmen answer these calls proudly,” Barry said, “I am charged with bringing every one of our airmen home. I will say it in different words, and I cannot utter a more sincere and heartfelt oath, I will not leave an airman behind. Whether that is mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually I promise you, our community, that our airmen will all come home.”
During the ceremony, airmen presented yellow ribbons to their family members. The yellow ribbons serve as symbol of hope for families waiting for their airmen to return home.
Also present at the ceremony was Gov. Albert Bryan, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, and other senators from the 33rd Legislature of the Virgin Islands.