Key Field supports local, national interests

  • Published
  • By Capt. Steven Stubbs
  • 186th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The unique missions of the Mississippi Air National Guard provide Key Field's 1,200+ personnel an opportunity to assist local communities in need and support our nation's homeland defense efforts both locally and abroad.

Ever since our nation came into existence, Citizen Soldiers and Airmen have been called on to protect and defend the vital interests of our country. They have been unselfish in their devotion to both duty and country while staying in a high state of readiness, waiting to answer the call of duty.

"I am thankful for the men and women who have volunteered to defend the nation as a part of our mission," stated U.S. Air Force Col. Billy Nabors, 186th Air Refueling Wing commander.  "I am also thankful that we are part of a community that is able to produce such patriots."

Since the inception of our parent unit, the 153rd Observation Squadron, on September 27, 1939, members of Mississippi's first Air National Guard unit served in England and France during World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Berlin Crisis, 9/11 terrorist attacks, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other locations throughout the world.

But at the same time, our Airmen, who live, work and play throughout Mississippi and the surrounding states, have responded to local and national disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, Haiti Earthquake, and Hurricane Sandy to name a few.

"This is shaping up to be one of the busiest years in our history," added Nabors.  "With hundreds of our airmen facing months of deployments in support of our nation's defense, two major exercises and one major Air Force inspection to complete our conversion back to the KC-135R mission and aircraft, this year will ask a lot of our men and women.  I have no doubt they will face this year in the same way they have faced so many other challenges and achieve great successes that our community will be proud of."

With a wealth of history and a bright future, the 186th Air Refueling Wing is one of the very best Air National Guard units.  Dependability and professionalism are qualities that help us live up to the high standards we have always set for ourselves.  As in the lyrics of the song "Citizen/Soldier" by 3 Doors Down from 2007, the Mississippi Air National Guard waits for the call:

"Citizen soldiers
Holding the light for the ones that we guide from the dark of despair
Standing on guard for the ones that we've sheltered
We'll always be ready because we will always be there"