Local Soldiers Celebrate 50 Years of Service

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

A unit within the Alabama Air National Guard celebrated it's 50th anniversary Saturday.

Past and present members of the 280th combat communications squadron were honored for their service and sacrifice.

It was a day of recognition and celebration at the Dothan Regional Airport Air National Guard station Saturday.

The 280th combat communications squadron is 50 years old.

“It's a celebration of many years many deployments many sacrifices of families and members,” said Master Sergeant Shannon Metcalf.

Dozens of people gathered to show their respect to the men and women who've made those sacrifices.

From soldiers fresh out of boot camp…

“It's an honor to be a part of something that means so much and has a good tradition and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said Airman First Class Floyd Stupka.

To former members of the 280.

“I’m flattered to be able to come back and receive the award that they gave us it makes us older guys that retired and got out look forward to coming back,” said retired Master Sergeant Joseph Spann

The 2-80's mission is all about communication.

“We make sure the guys and girls on the ground on the front lines and in the air are able to talk back to home and as well as their command elements,” said Captain Patrick Tritz.

“We have a unique mission it's unique to the air national guard it's unique to the air force as well,” added Metcalf.

Several retired members of the 2-80 were honored with the "Hometown Hero" award for deploying during operation Iraqi Freedom.
But Spann says, the honor is all his.

“The people is what's made this unit great and I’m proud to say I was apart of this unit,” says Spann.

The 280 hasn't always called Dothan home.
Founded in 1959, the unit moved to Montgomery, Alabama in October of 1986.
Then in 1996 they came here to Dothan.

In august of 2004, the unit moved to it's current location at the Dothan Regional Airport.

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