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Hanscom community welcomes home deployers

Hanscom community welcomes home deployers

Master Sgt. Henry Hoegen, 66th Security Forces Squadron first sergeant, is formally welcomed home from deployment by Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence and Networks, at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., July 18, while Col. Chad Ellsworth, center, installation commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Henry Hayes, installation command chief, look on. More than 20 members of the Hanscom community were formally welcomed home during the Hanscom Heroes Homecoming event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jerry Saslav)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Base officials formally welcomed home more than 20 service members from deployment during a Hanscom Heroes Homecoming celebration here July 18.

The annual event opened with a private ceremony at the base conference center for the honorees and their families as well as other invited guests.

“Not only is this a great event for the returning deployers, it’s important that family members were invited to participate in the festivities,” said Capt. Erin Wilson, a program manager in the Space, Aerial and Nuclear Networks Division, who was recognized during the ceremony.

Secretary of Veterans' Services for Massachusetts Francisco Urena provided brief remarks during the ceremony.

“Today is all about you, the warfighters who have served and have returned, as well as your families who shared in that sacrifice,” he said. “On behalf of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito let me thank you and say welcome home.”

Also attending the ceremony were representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Reps. Katherine Clark and Seth Moulton, as well as local selectmen and officials from neighboring towns.

Staff Sgt. Brandon Law, a dental technician for the 66th Medical Squadron, participated following his first deployment.

“This is the first base I have been at where a ceremony like this is held,” he said. “It demonstrates the value placed on service.”

Maj. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer for Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, and Networks, Col. Chad Ellsworth, installation commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Henry Hayes, installation command chief, formally welcomed home each service member and their families.

Local members of the Hanscom Chapter of the Green Knights Military Motorcycle Club held American flags as senior leaders presented the honorees with a coin and placed a medallion around their neck.

Following the ceremony at the conference center, honorees and their families participated in a parade that included vintage vehicles, members of the Massachusetts Mounted State Police on horseback, base fire trucks, duck boats and more. Hanscom base personnel lined the parade route to cheer for their colleagues.

Base officials have held the ceremony every year since 2007.