Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs

Wisconsin National Guard News



128th Air Control Squadron returns from Southwest Asia

Date: October 5, 2009

Approximately 60 members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Control Squadron returned to Volk Field early Monday afternoon, concluding a deployment to Southwest Asia that began May 13.

"One-Two-Eight, welcome home," Brig. Gen. Donald Dunbar, adjutant general for Wisconsin, told unit members surrounded by cheering family and friends during a brief ceremony.

The 128th ACS, an extension of the Theater Air Control System, augmented the active component 71st Expeditionary Air Control Squadron at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center in Southwest Asia.

According to Lt. Col. Jerry Iverson, commander of the deployed element, the 128th ACS performed two missions during its deployment. Working in conjunction with Patriot batteries and other resources, the 128th helped ensure air defense for roughly 188,000 square miles of air space covering Iraq, Afghanistan and other Persian Gulf interests. The squadron also provided air battle management over the skies of Afghanistan from a remote location.

Air battle management involves coordinating aircraft for air-to-air combat and air-to-ground support as well as standard flight control and air refueling tasks.

"It was a very rewarding, but very difficult mission," Iverson said.

"We will never know - you will never know - how many lives you saved," Dunbar told squadron members. "But you should know your contribution was significant. I'll match you against any other unit."

Iverson agreed.

"We are the finest air control squadron in the Air Force, without a doubt," he told his Airmen.

"I'd be proud to take them wherever I go."



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Members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Control Squadron return to their home base at Volk Field Monday, Oct. 5 following a deployment to Southwest Asia that began May 13. Wisconsin Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Vaughn R. Larson

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Brig. Gen. Donald Dunbar, adjutant general for Wisconsin, and Brig. Gen. John McCoy, deputy adjutant general for Air, greet members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Control Squadron at their home base at Volk Field Monday, Oct. 5 following a deployment to Southwest Asia that began May 13. Wisconsin Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Vaughn R. Larson

Iverson's praise included squadron members who did not deploy. The unit maintained its stateside mission of supporting daily military flights in local airspace.

Tech. Sgt. Jason Kostreva, an aerospace ground equipment operator with the 128th ACS, said the deployment went well, and quickly.

"I still missed the family," he said.

Adrianne Pradarelli said her children were happy to see their father, Master Sgt. Kevin Pradarelli, step off the plane. He has deployed twice since their wedding, but she said this deployment was more difficult because the children were older and were more aware of their father's absence.

The family communicated regularly on video feeds over the Internet, "but it's so different to see him," Adrianne said. "It's great to have him back."

Iverson acknowledged that he turned 53 just the day before.

"This is a great birthday present," he said.


Click To View High-Resolution Photo
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Brig. Gen. Donald Dunbar, adjutant general for Wisconsin, and Brig. Gen. John McCoy, deputy adjutant general for Air, greet members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Control Squadron at their home base at Volk Field Monday, Oct. 5 following a deployment to Southwest Asia that began May 13. Wisconsin Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Vaughn R. Larson


Click To View High-Resolution Photo
Click To View High-Resolution Photo

Lt. Col. Jerry Iverson addresses squadron members, family and friends during a welcome home ceremony at Volk Field Monday, Oct. 5. Iverson commanded the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Control Squadron, which returned to its home base at Volk Field following a deployment to Southwest Asia that began May 13. Also pictured are Brig. Gen. Donald Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin; Brig. Gen John McCoy, deputy adjutant general for Air; and Col. Gary Ebben, commander of Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center. Wisconsin Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Vaughn R. Larson


Click To View High-Resolution Photo
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Tech. Sgt. Jason Kostreva reunites with his wife Kasandra and children Victor and Vivian Monday, Oct. 5 following a deployment to Southwest Asia that began May 13. Kostreva was among approximately 60 members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Control Squadron who returned to their home base at Volk Field Oct. 5. Wisconsin Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Vaughn R. Larson


Click To View High-Resolution Photo
Click To View High-Resolution Photo

Master Sgt. Kevin Pradarelli greets his daughter Madison on the runway at Volk Field on Monday, Oct. 5. Pradarelli was among approximately 60 members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 128th Air Control Squadron who returned to their home base at Volk Field Oct. 5 following a deployment to Southwest Asia that began May 13. Wisconsin Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Vaughn R. Larson



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