NORAD-USNORTHCOM warriors receive award

By Petty Officer 1st Class Joaquin Juatai | January 25, 2007

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - Amidst a gathering of friends and family, 10 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers were honored with Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen awards Saturday at the headquarters of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.

The Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen award is given to all Army Reservists who have been activated in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, whether that activation be to backfill positions in the United States for Soldiers who have been deployed, or to fill deployed billets themselves. Of the 10, Lt. Col. David Newberry was mobilized to Iraq for 12 months after his assignment to NORAD and USNORTHCOM. The other honorees were mobilized previous to their assignments to the commands.

Speakers at the ceremony stressed the difficulties of separation from their spouses and children and thanked their spouses for their support during their activations.

“I want to personally thank the families of these Soldiers,” said keynote speaker, Maj. Gen. Robert B. Ostenberg, NORAD and USNORTHCOM director of Reserve Forces, describing the stress of Soldiers being called to duty and having to leave their families. “That is a task that we ask you to do in the military, and I am not sure that you (spouses) signed up with that in mind as part of your wedding vows.”

Newberry went on to echo Ostenberg’s thanks.

“When you’re deployed, you always think about your family,” said Newberry. “They carry a tremendous burden while we’re gone.”

Chief Warrant Officer Mary Koepp, officer-in-charge of the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Army Reserve Element, explained that the Welcome Home Warrior-Citizen award includes an American flag encased in a wooden frame with an inscription, a Welcome Home banner, two Army Reserve lapel pins the Soldier may give to family members or other important people, and the Army Reserve coin.

Ostenberg presented the awards along with Maj. Gen. G. Steve Read and Command Sgt. Maj. Posey Grier, commander and command sergeant major of the United States Army Reserve Readiness Command in Fort Jackson, S.C. Sgt. Maj. D. Scott Frye, NORAD and USNORTHCOM senior enlisted advisor, presented NORAD and USNORTHCOM coins to the honorees.