MADISON, Wis. – 300 members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard will spend the next three months on mission in Southwest Asia.
On Saturday, family and friends had a chance to send the airmen off in a public ceremony at the 115th fighter wing headquarters at Truax Field.
“We’ve been preparing for a while now,” said Senior Airmen Jax Miller. “Emotionally, physically, all of that. It’s something to look forward to.”
Saturday’s sendoff was scheduled deliberately with remembering the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Governor Tony Evers, among others, were in attendance.
“September 11th is really a formative day for us in the military and certainly here at the fighter wing,” said Col. Bart Van Roo. “Understanding what that impact meant to us and how much it changed what we do and what we’re asked to do is really the biggest thing.”
“I was in first grade,” Miller said. “I remember my mom picked me up from school. She said ‘I have something to tell you.’ I immediately thought the worst. She was like ‘A plane hit the World Trade Center in New York. It was a big catastrophe. I was young, so I didn’t really process it at the time.”
“Most of the members enlisting now weren’t born on that day,” Van Roo said.
While the details surrounding much of the mission are still classified, Van Roo and others still took the opportunity to honor the airmen taking it on, along with their families.
“I’m incredibly proud,” said Miller’s partner Sadah Crouch. “It’s just wonderful to be here in this environment, just to see all of these wonderful people donating their lives and their time to do something so special for our countryIt’s nice to feel like I’m a part of it by having Jax as a part of our family. I get to continue to at least be some part and share that with each other.”
“I’m excited to be here with my family and see all of these people joining and gathering today,” said Crouch’s son Crevan. “I think it really makes me appreciate the things that Jax does. I’m going to be sad when she leaves but I think that this is a real honor.”