131st Aviation Regiment are Recognized at Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/09/06

131st Aviation Regiment are Recognized at Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum

Members of the Georgia Army National Guard were honored for their heroic efforts overseas. A special ceremony was held on Saturday afternoon at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in recognizing the 131st Aviation Regiment Army National Guard.

The guardsmen made their grand entrance in three Chinook helicopters in front of the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum.

More than a hundred men and women with the Georgia Army National Guard stationed at Hunter Army Airfield made their way into the Mighty 8th. They were honored for their superb combat performance in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Major General Terry Nesbitt, commander of the Georgia Army National Guard, came down from Atlanta just to say thank you.

"They flew over seventy five hundred flying hours which is a record that still stands for the number of flying hours flown for this type of aircraft," said Nesbitt.

General Nesbitt said the 131st leads the army in the operational readiness of their aircraft, and is the second unit in the national guard to receive the Boeing Helicopter Combat Recognition Pin. The unit also received a 10,000 flying hour award.

Soldier Duane Sandbothe said it feels good to be recognized for all their hard work.

"We flew a lot of hours and did a lot of support for Afghanistan support and the army," said Sandbothe.

Duane's wife Amy said this award was a long time coming

"These guys truly did amazing things when no one was looking and now that they are back and someone has tallied up and realized what they did and they are being recognized," said Amy Sandbothe.

Not only were they awarded for their efforts overseas, but here at home to the 131st Aviation Regiment flew over one hundred hours and saved over 2500 people during hurricanes Katrina and Wilma.

"This unit has been tested but has shown what they are made of," said Nesbitt.

Reported by: Brooke Kelley

bkelley@wtoc.com

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