Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that the Hawaii National Guard has once again agreed to provide military transport to bring American Samoa’s troops home on Monday December 12, 2005. The troops will arrive at noon local time.
“American Samoa’s troops have been serving in Iraq for more than a year and returned to Hawaii last week,” Faleomavaega said. “Unfortunately, commercial flights on Hawaiian Air are booked solid until December 20, 2005 and even then there is no guarantee that all of our troops will be home for Christmas.”
“Major General Robert Lee informed me that the Hawaii Air National Guard would once again provide a military aircraft as I requested when our troops were stranded in April of this year. About 30 of our soldiers will be aboard Monday’s military flight and I am honored that Chairman Henry Hyde and Ranking Member Tom Lantos of the House Committee on International Relations have authorized me to escort our troops home.”
“At this time, I want to thank Major General Robert Lee, The Adjutant General for Hawaii, and also Brigadier General John Ma of the 9th Regional Support Command, for taking quick action to secure a tanker once they learned that our troops had no other way to get back to their families. Major General Lee and Brigadier General Ma are truly committed to our troops and, in turn, our soldiers and their families deeply appreciate their unwavering support.”
“A KC-135 Refueling Tanker from the 203rd Air Refueling Squadron, Hawaii Air National Guard, Commanded by Lt Col Michael Akiona, will fly the troops home to American Samoa. Capt Scott Oka and SMSgt Gary Mau secured mission approval. I thank these fine men for their good work.”
“Above all, I thank American Samoa’s troops for their service to our country. As a Vietnam Veteran, I am proud of our soldiers for completing their mission and serving their country when called. Once again, I am honored to escort them home,” the Congressman concluded.