By Tech. Sgt. Cindy Au-Wiafe, 159th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
BELLE CHASSE, La. – Approximately 300 Airmen from the 159th Fighter Wing, Louisiana Air National Guard, were honored in a deployment ceremony held at Belle Chasse High School on Dec. 3.
The 159 FW is deploying in support of the U.S Indo-Pacific Theater Security Package to maintain a U.S. military presence in critical areas around the world. While deployed, visiting components will train alongside active-duty components to maintain mission readiness and capability.
Distinguished guests included Maj. Gen. Keith Waddell, the adjutant general of the Louisiana National Guard, Brig. Gen. Shawn Coco, assistant adjutant general-Air, Brig. Gen. Sean Conroy, chief of staff-Air, Command Sgt. Maj. Clifford Ockman, command senior enlisted leader, Col. David Anderson, 159 FW commander, Lt. Col. Joshua Higgins, 159 FW deputy commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Brian Cooper, 159 FW command chief.
Waddell, the presiding official of the deployment ceremony, recognized the Airmen and their families for the continual sacrifice and support of the unit and Nation.
“You took an oath to support defend the Nation against enemies foreign and domestic, and your service enables the preservation of our democracy. I ask each one of you to look out for one another, be safe, be excellent every day and listen and respect your teammates. You represent the very best of the LANG and I have no doubt this team will do a tremendous job on this deployment,” said Waddell. “I would like to extend my personal thanks to every member of this unit. You are the backbone of the unit and the true unsung heroes of the LANG. Please know that you are always valued and respected. To the deploying Airmen of the 159 FW, thank you for what you have done and thank you for what you will do moving forward. You are the best, and I am so thankful to be your teammate and proud to serve with each one of you.”
Lt. Col. Ryan Reeves, the 122d Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander, looks forward to leading the unit during the deployment and shows appreciation to those helping prepare and maintain the unit’s readiness.
“To the family and friends of our deploying Airmen, thank you for your sacrifice. I know you pick up an unfair burden when we are gone and while we miss birthdays, anniversaries and other milestones, you keep what is most important to us under control every day and give us something to look forward to,” said Reeves. “We are headed to the frontlines of the most strategically important theater on the globe. Indo-Pacific trade routes connect the Middle East, Africa and Asia with the Americas over which a majority of the world’s oil trade and over a third of the global trade transits. It is critical that the U.S. and partner interests are protected in this vast area. We will serve our part by providing air superiority on demand for regional stability and strategic deterrence whenever and wherever needed. Represent your unit, service, State and Nation with pride. Let’s do our best to build bridges with our host unit as well as foreign partners we are working with.”
The LANG continues to support the Nation and regularly deploy individual and joint units in a commitment to regional security.