NATIONAL GUARD FLIES WOUNDED WARRIORS HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
December 24, 2013
FORT GORDON, Ga. -- The Puerto Rico Air National Guard flew a C-130 cargo plane into Augusta Regional Airport in Augusta, Ga., on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, to pick up 11 wounded Soldiers from the Fort Gordon Warrior Transition Battalion with families in Puerto Rico, and fly them home for the holidays.
The pickup and return flights are training missions for the pilots and air crew of the PRANG that allow them to do something to honor the wounded Soldiers of Puerto Rico.
"These Soldiers are our own blood. You could never say no to something like this and you always look forward to it," said Capt. Nester Vazquez, PRANG Pilot.
After the roughly four and a half hour flight, the Soldiers are welcomed in Puerto Rico by their families, news reporters, Puerto Rican dignitaries and Puerto Rico General Officers.
As the senior noncommissioned officer on the trip, Staff Sgt. Daniel Alvarez-Lopez was designated the group leader to provide accountability during the trip back home to Puerto Rico.
"Having the Air National Guard do this for us, it means a lot for us. Some of these guys haven't been to Puerto Rico since they left on deployment, so they will have their families and Brig. Gen. Medina and Brig. Gen. Burgos waiting when the land."
Brig. Gen. Juan Medina is currently serving as the Puerto Rico Adjutant General and Brig. Gen. Jose Burgos is the Commanding General, 1st Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve, Puerto Rico.
"It means a whole lot to the guys who have haven't been back and although they are being taken care of here at Fort Gordon, this will be a relief for them, spending two weeks on the island, and spending Christmas with their families," said Alvarez-Lopez.
"We appreciate what everybody at Fort Gordon and the PRANG are doing for us and this is an awesome experience for all of us."
The Puerto Rico Air National Guard will return the group on Jan. 3, 2014, to Augusta to continue receiving care at the Fort Gordon Warrior Transition Battalion where they receive medical care and support in order to return to their units after they are heal or transition back to civilian life.