Airmen Recognized Upon Return Published Oct. 29, 2012 By Master Sgt. Steve Wilkins 145th Public Affairs Office CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hundreds of Airmen gathered October 20, honoring others among them who deployed recently. During an official Air National Guard ceremony known as the Hometown Heroes Salute at the 145 Airlift Wing's Charlotte air base, Brig. Gen. D. Todd Kelly said "we are doing one of the most important things we can as Guardsmen, recognize and thank our airmen and their families for their commitment and sacrifice," as he addressed families friends and Airmen of the North Carolina National Guard gathered in a hangar there. The Hometown Heroes Salute recognition program was sanctioned by the Air National Guard director in August 2008 to celebrate and honor Airmen, families, communities and special supporters of the ANG's mission. Recipients have served 30 or more days away from home throughout operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. The 145 Airlift Wing is recognizing approximately 130 Airmen. Each Airman is awarded a framed Hometown Heroes Salute Coin with a Letter of Appreciation signed by the ANG Director and Command Chief Master Sergeant, and a Pen & Pencil Set for their spouse or significant other. The event was hosted by145 Airlift Wing Commander Col. Roger Williams. Each Airman was greeted personally by Williams, Kelly and North Carolina's top enlisted airmen, Chief Master Sgt. Bruce Pickett and Chief Master Sgt. Maurice Williams. In his remarks Kelly thanked family members for sacrifices they made to keep life going and for support of their airmen throughout their deployments and as they performed their jobs at home. He reminded them that there was also an extended family of support in the entire Air guard membership behind them and ready to offer them support whenever needed. He included comments recognizing the Airman as citizen soldier, using skills at home in emergencies or leaving home to contribute well-honed abilities to the missions of the nation, and the U.S. Air Force in hot spots around the world and the War on Terror.