Gov. Beshear, First Lady join Adjutant General to Visit Families of Deployed Troops

Story by Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht, Director of Public Affairs, Kentucky National Guard
Pictures by Maj. David Page, Public Affairs, Kentucky National Guard

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Governor and first lady, Steve and Jane Beshear, examine Leland Caty's specially decorated keep-sake during a holiday celebration held December 3 at the 1204th Aviation Support Battalion armory located in Independence, Ky. The Governor was accompanied by Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, the adjutant general, and his wife, Carol. Leland's step-father, Spc. Neal A. McIver is a member of the 1204th.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (3 DEC)– Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear joined Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini and his wife, Carol in a holiday visit on Dec. 3 with the families of the Kentucky National Guard’s 1204th Aviation Support Battalion in Independence, Ky. and the Agribusiness Development Team3 in Frankfort, Ky.

“The folks over there couldn’t do their jobs without these families giving them support,” said Beshear to a gathering of families from the 1204th.

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Captain Brandon C. Candee helps son, Cade, with a puzzle during the Joint Forces Headquarters holiday celebration held December 3 in Frankfort, Ky., the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

The 1204th ASB is made up of approximately 325 Soldiers from Kentucky and another 275 from Alabama, Florida and Maryland.  The troops are currently deployed to Iraq and Kuwait where they are performing aviation maintenance missions in support of Operation New Dawn.  They are expected to return home sometime later next year.

After a morning visit in Independence, the Governor and Adjutant General flew to Frankfort to share time with families and Soldiers at their holiday banquet.

“We’re thankful for all of the families and all the support they give our Troops. Our Soldiers and Airmen can’t do their jobs without the support of our loved-ones here at home,” Tonini expressed to a packed hall at the Capitol Plaza in Frankfort.

The luncheon in Frankfort honored the families of the Joint Force Headquarters of the Kentucky National Guard, as well as the families of the Kentucky Guard Agribusiness Development Team 3 currently serving in Afghanistan. The banquet hall had a two-way video conference with the Troops in Afghanistan, 8 ½ hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

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The Waller family, Shannon, wife, Matthew and Madalyn, children talke with loved one, Sgt. Kerry Waller, who is a member of Kentucky National Guard's Agribusiness Development Teams (ADT) III currently deployed to Afghanistan, over video during a holiday celebration held December 3 in Frankfort, Ky., the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

“This kind of communication keeps everyone positive especially during the holidays when it’s harder with the distance and everything,” said Kristine Mullaney, wife of the KYNG ADT3 Commander, Col. Neil Mullaney.

With approximately 45 Soldiers and Airmen, KYADT 3 is charged with sustaining the relationships built between former KYADTs and Afghan farmers to ensure the country becomes agriculturally self-sufficient through development of the agricultural marketplace. The unit is expected to return home early next year.

Since 9/11, more than 14,000 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have mobilized in support of the Global War on Terror. The Kentucky National Guard currently has nearly 1,700 troops deployed worldwide.

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NEWS LINKS

WTVQ- ABC36 Lexington

WCPO – ABC9 Cincinnati

WKRC – CBS12 Cincinnati

WXIX – FOX19 Cincinnati

WDRB – Fox41 Louisville

State Journal – Frankfort

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