04/21/06 — Shared honor: Air Force dedicates plane to an appreciative city

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Shared honor: Air Force dedicates plane to an appreciative city

They are your neighbors and co-workers — and for 20 years they have been a part of this community.

But many people might not really know why they should be grateful to the members of the 916th Air Refueling Wing — as well as other members of the armed forces reserves.

Unlike many of those who are active duty, many of the Air Force Reserves and the National Guard are called to action when they are needed. Until then, they drill one weekend a month, and prepare, just in case they get the word that there is a mission for their unit.

And lately, with the war in Iraq, that call has come more often.

In the meantime, they hold full-time jobs, care for families and otherwise are an important part of their communities, whether that is here in Wayne County or hundreds of miles away.

Being in the reserves isn’t easy. In addition to the ongoing training, you also must maintain a regular life, complete with a job that requires your attention — and the reality that you could be away for three, six, nine or more months.

Like those who serve in the active duty military, there is always a danger of not coming home — and for many families, the sacrifice of a father, mother, wife or husband who is thousands of miles away.

The families who are left behind serve, too. The spouse who remains at home must now carry on the duties of being a mother and a father, while maintaining the household. There are children to care for, bills to pay and daily household tasks that previously had been shared that now fall on one set of shoulders.

This week, the 916th Air Refueling Wing dedicated a plane in honor of the city that has been its home base for two decades since its reactivation.

Officials said the ceremony was the 916th’s way of saying thank you to the community that has supported its personnel and offered so much.

In truth, it is this community that should be grateful, and honored, to have the Wing.

And the men and women who serve in the 916th can rest assured, we are, indeed, grateful and honored to have them among us.

The 916th Air Refueling Wing is just one more reason for Wayne County to be proud.

The “City of Goldsboro” will be a very fitting reminder.

Published in Editorials on April 21, 2006 9:48 AM