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732nd ESFS: Mission Complete
Col. David Marttala, 732nd Air Expeditionary Group commander, and Lt. Col. Dustin Sutton, 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron commander, furl the guide on for the casing of colors ceremony July 31, 2010, Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The casing of the colors ceremony is a tribute an inactivated unit garners after honorably completing its mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Marianne E. Lane)
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732nd ESFS inactivated during Balad ceremony

Posted 8/4/2010   Updated 8/4/2010 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Stacy Fowler
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

8/4/2010 - JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq -- Since 2005, the men and women of the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron has managed the Joint Expeditionary Task Security Forces Airmen in the Iraqi theater.

The accomplishments of the 732nd ESFS cover thousands of miles and touch the lives of tens of thousands of people during their three-pronged mission of Military Working Dog teams, Law and Order Teams, and the Police Transition Teams.

At 10:15 a.m. July 31, 2010, this mission came to an end in Iraq as the unit officially inactivated during a casing of the colors ceremony.

"We will case the guideon of what has been, to my knowledge, the most heavily combat engaged, highly decorated Security Forces unit in Air Force history," said Col. David Marttala, 732nd Air Expeditionary Group commander, deployed from Headquarters U.S. Pacific Command, Camp Smith, Hawaii. "For the past five years, the otherwise heavily tasked SF career field has kept its front site fixed firmly on the campaign being waged by the Airmen of the 732nd ESFS. During this time, the 732nd ESFS has maintained the deployed footprint of more than 500 JET Airmen at more than 20 locations, executing some of the most unique, dangerous and strategically important missions in Iraq."

The 732nd ESFS warriors were at the tip of the spear in combat operations, said Lt. Col. Dustin Sutton, 732nd ESFS commander, deployed from Misawa Air Base, Japan.

"They are true Air Force warriors who lived in the harshest of conditions, fought the toughest of enemies and performed with honor and valor," said Colonel Sutton. "We should take pride in the combat power our Airmen delivered to the fight performing non-traditional combat roles."

The success of the 732nd ESFS didn't come without a price however. Eight SF members gave their lives in combat since Sept. 11, 2001. All eight were JET Airmen, five belonging to the 732nd ESFS: 1st Lt. Joseph Helton, Airman 1st Class Lee Bernard Chavis, Senior Airman Jason Nathan, Staff Sgt. John Self and Staff Sgt. Travis Griffin.

"May we never forget their sacrifice, and may we continue to honor these brave men and women who put themselves in harm's way each and every day," said Colonel Sutton.

The Airmen of the 732nd ESFS have parted ways, but "they will proudly recall their service here and honor those who did not come home," said Colonel Marttala. "Generations of new Airmen following them will be awed and inspired by the story of the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron."

As the ceremony drew to a close, the cased guideon carefully stowed, Colonel Sutton had these final words:

"I can now make a final proclamation that every commander yearns to state: We are mission complete!"

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