Kentucky Guard’s Army Aviators deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom

Story and photos by Lt. Col. Kirk Hilbrecht, Director of Public Affairs, Kentucky National Guard

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Chief Warrant 5 Stephen Hunnicutt, commander of the Kentucky National Guard Detachment 11, speaks to families and friends at the unit’s departure ceremony at Boone National Guard Center, Frankfort, Ky.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Dozens of family members and friends gathered with fellow Kentucky Guardsmen to honor the members of the Kentucky National Guard’s fixed wing unit, Detachment 11 Operational Support Airlift Command, at a farewell ceremony Friday.

Commanded by newly promoted Chief Warrant 5 Stephen Hunnicutt, “Det. 11” will fly C-12 Huron fixed wing airplanes in support of Operation Enduring Freedom coalition forces throughout the theater of operation.

“This is a very unique mission given to a very special group of our Guardsmen,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Dornbush, director of the Kentucky Guard joint staff. “I have the utmost confidence in their ability to accomplish this mission for our country. This isn’t their first rodeo.”

Deploying aviator Sgt. Paul Tidei has particularly strong ties to the aviation community. Tidei is one of four brothers who also joined Kentucky Army aviation units.

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Sgt Paul Tidei with his father, Master Sgt. Anthony Tidei, during the departure ceremony of Kentucky Guard’s Detachment 11, Frankfort, Ky.

“I’m proud to see him go on this mission,” said Army aviator and father of Paul Tidei, Master Sgt. Anthony Tidei.  “I believe what our nation is doing is very important and I feel good knowing that he is involved in making the world a better place for us all.”

After the departure ceremony, Detachment 11 flew to Fort Benning, GA  to complete a week long preparation phase prior to embarking on their near-year long mission support in the Middle East.

Since September 11, 2001 more 15,000 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.  The Kentucky National Guard currently has approximately 600 troops in Afghanistan, Africa and around the globe.

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