202nd RED HORSE holds Hometown Heroes and promotion ceremonies

CAMP BLANDING JOINT TRAINING CENTER, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2013) – The Florida Air National Guard’s premier engineer unit honored many of its Airmen Nov. 16, during a ceremony at the unit headquarters.

Florida Air National Guard's 202nd REDHORSE Squadron "Hometown Heroes" ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Fla., Nov. 16, 2013. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

Florida Air National Guard’s 202nd REDHORSE Squadron “Hometown Heroes” ceremony at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, Fla., Nov. 16, 2013. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

More than 90 members of the 202nd RED HORSE Squadron were recognized as “Home Heroes” during a ceremony that included present and past members of the unit.

The Hometown Heroes Salute recognition program is a sanctioned Air National Guard program that was created in 2008 to celebrate and honor the “significant contribution of its Airmen, families and communities and those special supporters to the mission of the U.S. Air Force and the Air National Guard.” The RED HORSE Airmen honored during this recent ceremony were recognized for have deployed for more than 30 consecutive days in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle and other peacekeeping operations across the globe since Sept. 2001.

Also during the afternoon, three officers were promoted in a special ceremony in front of the unit. Second Lieutenants Jacqueline Branyon and Michael Rivera were promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant, and unit Commander Lt. Col. Robert Niesen was promoted to the rank of Colonel.

RED HORSE is an acronym for Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers, and the unit’s mission is to provide a highly mobile, rapidly deployable civil engineering response force which can perform heavy damage repair for recovery of critical Air Force facilities.

The unit last deployed in 2012 to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, where it served as part of the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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