SD National Guard Airmen deploy to South Korea

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Luke Olson
  • 114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Approximately 250 Airmen of the South Dakota Air National Guard's 114th Fighter Wing gathered with friends and family for a mobilization ceremony at Joe Foss Field, May 3.

The Airmen are deploying to South Korea in support of a rotational Theater Security Package to the region. Rotational TSPs allow the U.S. Air Force to maintain a significant presence within the Pacific Theater.

"It's time to deploy and our leadership is here and ready," said Col. Russ Walz, 114th commander. "Our mission is to support our nation's continued commitment to regional stability and security around the world."

This deployment will provide valuable training opportunities for the 114th and further develop relationships with international partners. While in South Korea, the Airmen will integrate with U.S. and the Republic of Korea Air Force members to fly daily training missions.

It is not only the unit members that contribute to the mission; it is also their families who make a sacrifice.

"To the families that are here today, we want to say thank you," said U.S. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota. "You also pay a great price and are part of the cost of freedom that all of us as a country have to pay."

The 114th will have the opportunity to fulfill the federal side of their two-fold mission: to deploy worldwide and execute directed tactical fighter sorties to destroy enemy forces, supplies, equipment, communications systems and installations with conventional weapons, or when directed by the governor to protect life and property, preserve peace, order and public safety.

"We can't forget that freedom has a cost," said Thune. "We have people who are willing to pay that cost and we as a country have to be there to support them."