GULFPORT, Miss -- The nation recognizes the exemplary service of Mississippi National Guardsmen were recognized Aug. 11, 2018, for accomplishing a critical mission in the Middle East.
U.S. Representative from the 4th District Steven Palazzo presented the Meritorious Service Commendation to the 1108th Aviation Group. The award praises the unit's outstanding performance during a deployment from September 2011 to August 2012 for Operation New Dawn in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Kuwait and Afghanistan.
"The Meritorious Service Commendation is an award for units that perform exceptionally well beyond the call of duty. It's not just for those who simply perform," he said. "I'm so proud of the 1108th Aviation Group and proud of the Mississippi National Guard."
During the drawdown from Iraq, the unit was designated as the main aviation maintenance support and in charge of retrograde operations, said Lt. Col. Mark Johnson, 1108th AG resource and facility manager. All aviation equipment came to the unit for processing and repair before being certified for reuse.
"It's wonderful our troops were recognized for their hard work. Without their hard work and dedication, the overall mission wouldn't have been as successful," said Johnson.
The 144 soldiers of the 1108th AG showed tireless effort and extraordinary skill that contributed to the success of highly visible missions in a challenging situation. The award recognizes the Soldiers as a positive reflection on the unit, the Mississippi National Guard and the U.S. Army.
"We were able to do a lot with few people because we have a wealth of knowledge from highly trained, motivated Soldiers," Johnson said.