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Otis unit to receive annual Red Cross award

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- The 267th Combat Communications Squadron is scheduled to receive a 2008 Cape Cod and Islands Red Cross Hero Award in the category of "Military/Community Service" at the 7th Annual Heroes Breakfast, March 6, in Hyannis, Mass. 

According to a Red Cross press release dated Jan. 28, a committee of six members of the community evaluated many nominations received from all over Cape Cod and the Islands. Based upon these nominations, they chose Heroes in 20 different categories. 

"The 267th CBCS...played an instrumental role supporting the United States Air Force and their Air Expeditionary Force rotations from September 2007 through January 2008. Twenty-five Airmen assigned to the 267th CBCS deployed to Balad and Kirkuk Air Bases, Iraq. They led and augmented teams of deployed combat communicators providing mission critical command and control communications and war fighting support, to not only the Air Force but also the Joint and Coalition Teams determined to win today's fight in the Global War on Terrorism," said Maj. Christopher Willander, 267th Combat Communications Squadron detachment commander.
 
A few of the 267 CBCS' endeavors included in their official award nomination letter were providing a rapid response capability to the Cape & Islands communities and others with a reliable interoperable communications system to support domestic and homeland security emergencies. In 2008, Airmen of the 267 CBCS deployed personnel in support of the Independence Day celebration in Boston, the Boston Marathon and the Falmouth Road Race. Critical communication capabilities to civil support personnel greatly enhanced public safety through a Joint Incident Site Communications Capability System. The unit's JISCC included Airmen, power generators, portable shelters, heating and air conditioners, portable laptop computers, telephones and Land Mobile Radios which delivered interoperable and seamless communications aiding efforts to various first responders and civil agencies. These communications capabilities allowed first responders and civilian agencies to have instant access to critical information, providing services to include internet, video, teleconference, telephone and portable radio communications.
 
As 2008 came to a close, the 267 CBCS already had a lengthy list of accomplishments; however, their services were called on once again after a devastating ice storm wreaked havoc on various locations throughout New England, leaving tens of thousands of Massachusetts homes and businesses without power while the winter holidays quickly approached. True to form, the Airmen of the 267 CBCS answered the call, helping to establish a Massachusetts Air National Guard communications command response center to coordinate mutual aid in helping to restore electrical power to more than 60,000 Massachusetts residents. The unit's actions gained nationwide attention in being able to deploy these new communications technologies in support of real time emergency events.

The 7th annual Heroes Breakfast will be held March 6, from 7 to 9 a.m., at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis, Mass. Master of Ceremonies at the breakfast will be Peter Meyer, Publisher of the Cape Cod Times, and awards will be presented by members from the community. Judge Joseph Reardon (ret.) is the Honorary Chair.

For tickets or sponsorships, visit www.capecodandislandsredcross.org, call (508) 775-1540, email heroes@cciredcross.org or write to: 

American Red Cross, Cape Cod and Islands Chapter
286 South Street
Hyannis MA 02601