144TH Fighter Wing Honors Hometown Heroes

Nearly 100 hometown heroes from the California Air National Guard in Fresno were honored Sunday for their service overseas.

They are called citizen airmen. Many of them{}like Airman James Fisk just returned from the war in Afghanistan. "As nice as it is to be back and be with loved ones it's tough because you're leaving brothers behind in some cases. You have that connection and want to help out. A lot of guys end up going back for that reason."

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin was there to thank the men and women of the 144th Fighter Wing. Fresno Congressman Jim Costa did likewise. "We just simply want to say thank you. Thank you for your service to our country."

The family of Senior Airman Daniel Bravo attended Sunday's ceremony. Bravo was killed last July in a motorcycle accident after returning home from Afghanistan. His mother Teresa attended the ceremony. "I'm so proud of my son. We know he's not there with us. He still continues to make us proud and he was so proud to be in the Air Force and the Air Force was his family."

Sunday's hometown heroes award ceremony also paid tribute to the family members who do double duty while the citizen airmen are off to war. Colonel{}Sam Said heads up the 144th Fighter Wing. "The folks that really sacrifice the most are the families. They have to juggle so many balls to keep everything running while their loved ones are deployed."

The California Air National Guard says 65 percent of its troops are citizen airmen with normal jobs{}outside the military.