Jacksonville Mayor Brown welcomes Airmen back home from Afghanistan deployment
Air National Guard Security Forces served at Bagram Air Base during six-month tour
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 12, 2012) – Mayor Alvin Brown was honored to be the first person to greet security forces for the 125th Fighter Wing as they stepped off the plane at Jacksonville International Airport (JIA) on Tuesday.
The 25 Airmen are home after serving a half-year deployment at Bagram Air Base Afghanistan. They were greeted on the jet bridge seconds after walking off the plane with a firm handshake and a “Thank you” from Mayor Brown, City of Jacksonville Director of Military Affairs Rear Admiral Victor Guillory (U.S. Navy Retired), and several other high ranking Air National Guard officials.
The men and women were greeted by hundreds of ecstatic family members, Jacksonville Jaguars football players and ROAR cheerleaders, as well as by airport passengers who broke into a roaring applause at the sight of the emotional homecoming.
During an informal speech in JIA’s atrium, Mayor Brown told the group he has made military affairs a top priority in his administration by elevating military affairs to a cabinet level position and appointing Admiral Guillory to head it.
“We are going to do everything we can to help you,” said Mayor Brown. “When you get out of the service, I want you to make Jacksonville your home. I thank God for blessing you and bringing you back home safe.”
“Jacksonville is the most-military friendly city in the nation,” said Admiral Guillory. “This homecoming celebration was yet another example of our City of Jacksonville pride and patriotism.”
During this deployment, the Airmen performed a variety of security duties providing round-the-clock, in-depth security for a base of thousands of personnel. Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw, the Adjutant General of Florida, acknowledged the Airmen’s families for their support during the mission.
“We want to thank the families because we know you sacrificed to preserve the family while they were gone,” said Titshaw. “We could not do this without you.”