Thursday, July 22, 2010

Schwartz on 111th Fighter Wing

from the inbox:

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz delivered the following speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday on a resolution she introduced honoring the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 111th Fighter Wing stationed at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station. The resolution passed by a vote of 417 to 0 this afternoon.

“I rise today to honor the service and commitment of the Pennsylvania National Guard’s 111th Fighter Wing.

Their bravery and sacrifice over the years has helped ensure our safety and freedom.

“Originally growing out of the sod fields of the Philadelphia Airport in 1924, the Squad was first called to active service in February 1941, to perform antisubmarine patrols off the coast of New England. The Squad saw a lot of action during World War II.

“In 1943, they deployed and performed support operations in the China-Burma-India theater of combat. The same year they earned the Distinguished Unit Citation for their execution of ground attack missions in France and the Low Countries in advance of the invasion of Normandy, and in Germany, for their support of and in the aftermath of the Battle of the Bulge.

“Members of the 111th honorably served in support of the U.S. war efforts during both the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 1963, the 111th ended their 39 year history at the Philadelphia Airport, and relocated to the Willow Grove Naval Air Station.

“In 1995 and 1999 they performed combat operations in Support of Operation Southern Watch. Immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the 111th Fighter Wing deployed on very short notice to support joint combat operations for Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2002 and 2003, the wing was the lead unit for short notice, voluntary, out-of-cycle Air Expeditionary Force deployments to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

“In 2003, they volunteered for deployment yet again, this time in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. So outstanding was their service during this period, they earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, with Valor, for voluntarily deploying to austere bases in two separate combat operations within a five-month period.

“It has been my honor to represent the 111th Fighter Wing as a Member of Congress. Though the latest round of BRAC removed the squad’s fighter mission, they will remain stationed in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, and will undoubtedly continue to honorably serve our nation. To quote the resolution before us:

“Members of the 111th Fighter Wing of the Pennsylvania National Guard have served with courage, selflessness and compassion in every role that they have been asked to fulfill, and have earned the respect and gratitude of the citizens of Pennsylvania and of all Americans.

“I appreciate bipartisan support of Resolution 1411, and thank the members of the 111th Fighter Wing for their dedication, honor, service and sacrifice.”

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