Kentucky Guard Firefighting Team deploys on 9/11

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Story by Capt. Stephen Martin, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Officer
Photos by Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht, Director of Public Affairs, Kentucky National Guard

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GREENVILLE, Ky. (9/11/2011) -- The Kentucky National Guard held a departure ceremony for the 176th Engineer Firefighting Team deploying to Afghanistan at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky. This is the first Kentucky firefighting team to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Since 9/11, nearly 14,000 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized in support of the Global War on Terror. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht)

GREENVILLE, Ky. — (9/11/2011) The Kentucky National Guard held a departure ceremony  for the 176th Engineer Firefighting Team deploying to Afghanistan at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky.

“Today is infamous as it is the tenth anniversary of the attack on our country,” said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Adjutant General of Kentucky. “This day is especially important as we honor these firefighters as they deploy to the combat zone where it all started, Afghanistan.”

“As we deploy these neighbors of Greenville overseas, know that we will watch over their families while they are gone,” said  the Honorable Ed DeArmond, mayor of Greenville. “We wish these men all our best and God speed.”

The 176th Engineer Firefighting Team is made up of seven Soldiers led by Staff Sgt. Wesley LaFortune, a full-time firefighter for Fort Campbell Army Base.

GREENVILLE, Ky. (9/11/2011) -- State Command Sgt. Maj. Greg Armstrong speaks at the departure ceremony for the 176th Engineer Firefighting Team deploying to Afghanistan at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky. This is the first Kentucky firefighting team to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Since 9/11, nearly 14,000 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized in support of the Global War on Terror. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht)

“This is a deployment led by NCOs who will achieve great things on behalf of our Nation,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Greg Armstrong, state command sergeant major for the Kentucky Guard. “These firefighters may be the first Troops and the last Troops deploying Soldiers will see from the windows of military aircraft on the airstrip in Afghanistan.”

These firefighting teams were formed in 2003 and have participated in multiple federal and state emergencies to include the ice storm in 2009.

This will be the first overseas tour for the 176th Firefighting Team deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Since 9/11, nearly 14,000 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized in support of the Global War on Terror. The Kentucky National Guard currently has more than 1,800 troops deployed worldwide.

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