Kentucky Air National Guard troops deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom

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Story by Capt. Stephen Martin, Photos by Staff Sgt. Michael Oliver

Master Sgt. Shaun Cecil, 123rd Civil Engineering Squadron, hugs his son goodbye at a departure ceremony at Louisville International Airport Dec. 8.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 8, 2010) — The Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron deployed an initial group of Airmen to Afghanistan to conduct various operations, such as emergency management and engineering assistance today.

“It’s a difficult time to deploy when it’s around the holidays, but we have an important mission over there,” said Lt. Col. Phillip Howard, 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron Commander. “My heart goes out to the Families this Christmas.”

Ten Airmen said their goodbyes at the Louisville International Airport as they leave for the Middle East. They’re the first wave of troops from this Squadron to deploy with various other groups going out over the next couple of months.

“He’s fighting for our freedom right now,” said Cheri Cecil, the wife of one of the departing Air Guard members, Master Sgt. Shaun Cecil.

For the Cecil family, it’s the second deployment — but only the first since they’ve had kids.

The Kentucky National Guard currently has 450 troops deployed worldwide. Nearly 14,000 troops have been mobilized for the War on Terror since 2001.

Col. Greg Nelson and Lt. Col. Phillip Howard greet members from the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron as they prepare for departure to Afghanistan from the Louisville International Airport Dec. 8.

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