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128 ARW Retires Three Senior NCOs

MILWAUKEE -- The 128th Air Refueling Wing's Aircraft Maintenance Squadron observed the retirements of three service members on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010, at Gen. Mitchell International Airport.

The retiring service members were: Senior Master Sgt. Mark Weber, Master Sgt. Craig Hendricks and Master Sgt. Carl Lederhaus.

During the retirement ceremonies, the service members were given Air Force medals for their specific accomplishments, certificates for service to the Wisconsin Air National Guard, certificates for retirement and appreciation, Minuteman statues for their service to the state, and folded U.S. flags.

The three retired service members had a cumulative service of 109 years. Weber served for 37 years, and Hendricks and Lederhaus served for 36 years each.

The Air National Guard, however, is much like a family. All three retirees currently have family members serving in uniform. Senior Master Sgt. Weber's son, Senior Airman Tristan Weber, is assigned to the 128 ARW Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; Master Sgt. Hendricks' daughter, Staff Sgt. Kristen Hendricks, and his son, Justin Hendricks, are assigned to the 128 ARW; and Master Sgt. Lederhaus' step-son, Devon Bailey, is set to enter active duty Air Force service. Also, Master Sgt. Hendricks' wife, Janice, retired from the 128 ARW in 2008.

Following the retirement ceremonies, Brig. Gen. John P. McCoy, the Deputy Adjutant General for the Wisconsin Air National Guard, commented on the families' role regarding the years of service given by the retired service members.

"You've put up with a lot of sacrifice, and I really want to thank you," McCoy said. "Thank you for your perseverance, and for allowing [the retired service members] to serve."

Col. Jim Locke, commander for the 128 ARW Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, commended the out-going service members by saying that, while a significant fraction of the morning's gathered service members hadn't been born yet, the retiring service members helped to keep the torch of freedom alive through their dedication and years of service.