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Published September 15 2010

Forum editorial: Hooligans earn every accolade

Maybe there is a good side to the fact that North Dakotans take the Happy Hooligans for granted. The airmen of the highly honored unit based at Fargo’s Hector Field rank among the best at their jobs in the U.S. military. They’re so good at accomplishing their mission that North Dakotans have come to expect no less.

More than 250 airmen were honored last week, on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which was also a day of remembrance. The focus, however, was to congratulate and thank the heroes of the 119th Wing in Fargo, not only for their extraordinary work on and immediately after 9/11, but also for their many years of reliable and competent service.

Airmen of the 119th were deployed within hours after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. They remained on duty – in the air – for 30 or more consecutive days between that date and Dec. 31, 2008. It’s an amazing record that demonstrated not only their individual skills but also the high regard in which the unit is held by the U.S. military.

In addition, the 119th has been deployed many times around the world, often volunteering to go in harm’s way. Those “Hometown Heroes” were specifically honored last week, and they celebrated Family Day at the North Dakota Air National Guard base in north Fargo.

While the 119th’s mission is changing, its role in the nation’s defense remains vital. When called upon, the airmen of the 119th have always been ready to serve. Their outstanding record suggests they always will be. Taking them for granted is not necessarily a negative when considered in the context of their dedication and competence. It is comforting for every citizen to know that tested and reliable men and women are on the job for their country’s defense. Honoring them once a year is appropriate. Thanking them every day is better.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.