Members of South Dakota Air National Guard's 114th Security Forces Squadron were recognized for their service to our country on Monday. During a special ceremony, the citizen soldiers focused on family and being thankful.
The theme for Monday's ceremony of the 114th Security Squadron was thankfulness.
"This week is Thanksgiving and it certainly is a good day to remember how thankful we all are to be Americans. And thankful for the volunteerism and courage of our South Dakota National Guard. And especially how thankful we are that you're all home safe," South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard said.
The 31 men and women were honored for their service in the Middle East. The exact location of their mission is secret, but they received high praises for their service.
"As you look at that whole squadron, they never missed a beat. And I'm so proud of every one of them. It shows the depth of leadership that we have in this security forces squadron," Brigadier General Wayne Shanks said.
Their family members were also remembered for their sacrifices as well.
"Thank you to the families for taking care of everything while we were gone. For your understanding and strength day in and day out. It is never easy, and I know time does not go fast," Security Forces Squadron Commander Joe Hardin said.
Staff Sergeant Derek Adams just returned home 12 days ago. He says being able to see his family is the best part of being home.
"It's a great feeling coming home. You haven't seen anybody for so long. You don't have to talk to them through email or Skype. It's just, I don't know how to describe it. It's just a great feeling to be home and finally see everybody again. And it's done," Adams said.
The Air National Guardsmen began training in April and returned home at the beginning of November. Adams says he will now look for a place to live in Sioux Falls, and like many of his fellow airmen, return to work at his civilian job.