Base deployers to be recognized during Heroes' Homecoming

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Lisa Spilinek
  • 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Welcoming home warriors from battle has been a tradition since before the Roman Era when victorious soldiers would march along city streets to the blare of trumpets and cries of cheering crowds.

In the current age, troops have been welcomed with parades, fanfare and familial embraces when returning to home soil. Soon, this joyous custom will continue at Hanscom.

Base servicemembers who have returned from deployments during the past six months will be honored during a Heroes' Homecoming celebration Jan. 19 at the Aero Club Hangar, said Master Sgt. Michael Cleator, 642nd Electronic Systems Squadron and a chairperson for the event.

The event will begin at 3:30 p.m. Recently returned deployers will be recognized, along with their family members, for their sacrifices and accomplishments in support of the Global War on Terror.

"These individuals are heroes. Many of them were separated from their loved ones to fulfill crucial mission requirements. They completed their tasks honorably and upheld the ideals of our great country," said Col. Tom Schluckebier, 66th Air Base Wing commander. "For these reasons we should honor them and welcome them back home."

The Heroes' Homecoming celebration is a free event open to the entire base, Sergeant Cleator said. Tickets are not required to attend.

The celebration will have a pep-rally feel and will feature performances by the Air Force Band of Liberty's rock ensemble, Afterburner, an autograph session with New England Patriots cheerleaders, children's activities and sponsors' booths. Barbecue chicken and other assorted food items as well as beverages will be provided by the Minuteman Club, said Marika Trantanella, 66th Services Squadron and one of the event's coordinators.

"The idea behind this event is to recognize the accomplishments of Hanscom's deployers and celebrate their return to our military family," Colonel Schluckebier said.
Local radio personality and book author Michael Graham will emcee the Heroes' Homecoming. Mr. Graham's radio show is broadcast on FM talk radio station 96.9.

In addition, local area members of the Patriot Guard Riders will attend the event to show their support for the returned deployers and their families. The national organization is dedicated to supporting all U.S. servicemembers and is comprised primarily of motorcycle riders.

"I encourage all base personnel to attend this timely and worthwhile event," Colonel Schluckebier said. "Bring your families and help welcome back members of Team Hanscom."