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Utah Guard, families recognized at 2010 Governor's Day

Members of the Utah National Guard gather in formation for review by Utah governor Gary Herbert and Utah?s Adjutant General, Major General Brian Tarbet, at the annual Governor?s Day festivities in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 18, 2010. Governor?s Day brings together Air and Army Guard from the entire state of Utah, for a day of celebrating the state?s military readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Emily Hulse)RELEASED)

Members of the Utah National Guard gather in formation for review by Utah governor Gary Herbert and Utah?s Adjutant General, Major General Brian Tarbet, at the annual Governor?s Day festivities in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 18, 2010. Governor?s Day brings together Air and Army Guard from the entire state of Utah, for a day of celebrating the state?s military readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Emily Hulse)RELEASED)

Members of the 151st Air Refueling Wing pass in formation for review by Utah governor Gary Herbert and  the Utah Adjutant General, Major General Brian Tarbet, at the annual Governor?s Day festivities in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 18,2010. Governor?s Day brings together Air and Army Guard members from around the state. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sergeant Gary J. Rihn)(RELEASED)

Members of the 151st Air Refueling Wing pass in formation for review by Utah governor Gary Herbert and the Utah Adjutant General, Major General Brian Tarbet, at the annual Governor?s Day festivities in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 18,2010. Governor?s Day brings together Air and Army Guard members from around the state. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sergeant Gary J. Rihn)(RELEASED)

SALT LAKE CITY -- As part of the 57th annual Governor's Day event, over 6,000 Utah Air and Army National Guardsmen marched in a pass-and-review parade before the commander in chief of the Utah National Guard, Governor Gary R. Herbert, at Rice-Eccles Stadium September 18.

In observance of this time-honored military tradition, Governor Herbert inspected the units alongside the Adjutant General of Utah, Maj. Gen. Brian L. Tarbet, and commander of Utah NG Land Component Command, Brig. Gen. Michael R. Liechty. Approximately 20 Air Force squadrons and 70 Army battalions stood in formation across the breadth of the field for the official review.

"You get a feeling of the strength of the Guard visually when you see them in that particular formation, concentrated on the football field." said General Tarbet during an appraisal of the review after the parade. "You get a feeling of just how big the Guard is, how diverse it is, and how many different functions it has. I think it's a great pictorial display of what the Guard is. I thought they looked great today."

"The other thing we always notice is who is not there." said General Tarbet. "We are approaching 1,000 deployed Soldiers and Airmen again. There is a substantial number out there saving lives, working in the direct action, refueling and performing a whole host of other functions. It's what we do, the specialties that we have, and we're bringing those to bare right now."

At the ceremony the official reviewing party presented awards to Utah Guard Outstanding Performers of the Year.

Soldier of the Year: Specialist Joshua Wardle, 1457th Engineering Battalion.
Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Marc Crosby, 169th Intelligence Squadron.
Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Kristi Tuero, 151st Communications Flight
Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Sterling Poulson, Headquarters Utah Air National Guard.
First Sergeant of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Richard P. Miller, 151st Civil Engineer Squadron.

Also during the ceremony, unit colors were presented to the governor and a 19-volley cannon salute was fired in honor of him. A combination of six Black Hawk and Apache helicopters performed a formation fly-by over the stadium, followed by a KC-135 Stratotanker poised in refueling position.

In a speech during the review, Governor Herbert thanked both the Guardsmen and their family members for their contributions.

"Thanks for your service. Thanks for your sacrifice," said Governor Herbert addressing both the Guardsmen and their family members. "What you are doing is not insignificant. It's important for our state. It's important for our country. It's important for the world."

Both General Tarbet and the commander of the 151st Air Refueling Wing, Colonel Samuel H. Ramsay, praised Governor Herbert during a reception following the review.

"The governor is very supportive of the Guard," said Colonel Ramsay. "His personal experience as a Guardsman has really helped him empathize with what we're going through. We know that he knows. He's had a significant impact with employers whenever we have people deploying downrange."

"We're grateful to hear Governor Herbert thank the families," said General Tarbet. "In a large part it's Governor's Day today, but for many units it's also a family weekend, and that's what it ought to be. The Airmen and the Soldiers, we volunteered for this. We know what we're doing. The families kind of come along with us. Anytime we can recognize their sacrifice, their commitment, their dedication that's what we need to do."

Many units provided concession stands and activity booths to support their Family Readiness activities.

Tech Sgt. Mark Garcia, a transportation assistant with the 151st Logistics Readiness Squadron, brought his wife and kids to enjoy the activities. Sergeant Garcia's wife Regina said the kids had fun on the zip line and bounce houses, but it was the ceremony that carried the adults.

"It's a proud moment for us to spot our family member as they march by," said Regina Garcia. "It's moving to watch the sea of faces of people who are so brave and so selfless. There are a lot emotional parts during the ceremony, like when they play the National Anthem, but when the governor thanked the families...it just about brought us to tears."