Local Louisiana Guardsmen home for holiday
By Sgt. Rebekah Malone
Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
PINEVILLE, La. Home for the holidays rang true for a team of four Airmen from the 122nd Air Support Operations Squadron when they returned home in time for Memorial Day from their Operation New Dawn deployment to Alexandria, May 29.
The team of joint terminal attack controllers or JTACs, served with the 36th Infantry Division and provided guidance to the commanding general and his staff on the use of air power. Their deployment began five months ago on Christmas Day 2010.
Monique Cusick, wife of Lt. Col. William Cusick who served as the commander of Detachment 1, 368th Expeditionary Air Support Operations Group while deployed under the 36th Inf. Div., said good-bye to her husband on Christmas morning. As she waited for his plane, to arrive she said she could not wait to have him home.
I just cant wait to get my arms around him, she said.
Cusicks children, Noel, 12, Benjamin, 6, and Philip, 5, were excited to show their father the garden they planted, play legos and video games.
Im anxious for him to come home and play [soccer] with me, said Noel. Cusick normally coaches his daughters soccer team.
The Airmen were greeted by friends and family members including Maj. Gen. Bennett C. Landreneau, the LANGs adjutant general. He said he was extremely proud of the service the Airmen performed while deployed.
Today is very special, said Landreneau. We have some Airmen from Camp Beauregard returning to their families.
The Airmen were responsible for directing fighter and attack aircraft to monitor areas of interest or to provide fire support for forces on the ground if necessary. Normally, aircraft are not allowed to employ munitions unless a JTAC clears them to do so.
Stationed at Camp Basrah, Iraq, the JTACs travelled throughout southern Iraq and also trained Army joint fire observers on close air support and emergency operations.
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ALEXANDRIA, La. Lt. Col. William Cusick (right), gets a thumbs up for his return at the Alexandria International Airport in Alexandria, La., May 29, 2011 from his son. The team of four Airmen from the 122nd Air Support Operations Squadron deployed in support of Operation New Dawn to Camp Basrah, Iraq and was responsible for directing fighter and attack aircraft to monitor areas of interest or to provide fire support for forces on the ground if necessary under the 36th Infantry Division. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Sgt. Rebekah Malone, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office/Released)