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123rd Airlift Wing unveils latest plaques honoring retirees

More than 100 Kentucky Air National Guardsmen, retirees, friends and family members attended a ceremony April 12, 2014, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., honoring unit members who retired in 2013. The retirees’ names are inscribed on two granite plaques that were unveiled during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

More than 100 Kentucky Air National Guardsmen, retirees, friends and family members attended a ceremony April 12, 2014, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., honoring unit members who retired in 2013. The retirees’ names are inscribed on two granite plaques that were unveiled during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

Senior Master Sgt. Walt Brewer (left) and Chief Master Sgt. David Fink (right), both retired members of the Kentucky Air National Guard, unveil two granite plaques honoring retirees during a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 12, 2014. The plaques list the names of Kentucky Air Guardsmen who retired from military service in 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

Senior Master Sgt. Walt Brewer (left) and Chief Master Sgt. David Fink (right), both retired members of the Kentucky Air National Guard, unveil two granite plaques honoring retirees during a ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 12, 2014. The plaques list the names of Kentucky Air Guardsmen who retired from military service in 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

More than 100 Kentucky Air National Guardsmen, retirees, friends and family members attended a ceremony April 12, 2014, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., honoring unit members who retired in 2013. The retirees’ names are inscribed on two granite plaques that were unveiled during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

More than 100 Kentucky Air National Guardsmen, retirees, friends and family members attended a ceremony April 12, 2014, at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., honoring unit members who retired in 2013. The retirees’ names are inscribed on two granite plaques that were unveiled during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, adjutant general of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, speaks to a crowd of more than 100 Airmen, friends and family during a ceremony honoring retirees at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 12, 2014. Two granite plaques, listing the names of Kentucky Air Guardsmen who retired in 2013, were unveiled during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, adjutant general of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, speaks to a crowd of more than 100 Airmen, friends and family during a ceremony honoring retirees at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 12, 2014. Two granite plaques, listing the names of Kentucky Air Guardsmen who retired in 2013, were unveiled during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

A ceremony held at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 12, 2014, honored more than 40 Kentucky Air National Guardsmen who retired from the unit in 2013. The retirees' names are inscribed on two marble tablets that were unveiled during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

A ceremony held at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 12, 2014, honored more than 40 Kentucky Air National Guardsmen who retired from the unit in 2013. The retirees' names are inscribed on two marble tablets that were unveiled during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke III, director of the Air National Guard, speaks to a crowd of more than 100 Airmen, friends and family during a ceremony honoring retirees at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 12, 2014. Two granite plaques, listing the names of Kentucky Air Guardsmen who retired in 2013, were unveiled during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke III, director of the Air National Guard, speaks to a crowd of more than 100 Airmen, friends and family during a ceremony honoring retirees at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., April 12, 2014. Two granite plaques, listing the names of Kentucky Air Guardsmen who retired in 2013, were unveiled during the ceremony. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Horton)

- KENTUCKY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The newest retirees from the Kentucky Air National Guard were honored April 12 when two black-granite plaques inscribed with their names were unveiled during a ceremony here.

The plaques join six others dating back to the first retirement in 1962 and honor those who have devoted much of their lives to the service of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Kentucky Air National Guard.

The annual unveilings started 11 years ago as "a way of permanently enshrining the people who have really been the cornerstone of what the Kentucky Air National Guard is all about and the excellence we have shown through the years," said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, the adjutant general for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

This year's ceremony honored the 46 Airmen who retired in 2013.

"We've been here since 1947, and the legacy that has been left by the people whose names are on these plaques is incredible," said Col. Barry Gorter, commander of the 123rd Airlift Wing. "We're out here today to carry forward the legacy of excellence that has been handed down to us by all of you."

The director of the Air National Guard, Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, also spoke at the ceremony, addressing an audience comprised of current and former members of the Kentucky Air Guard and their families.

"For the members who are retiring, I want to tell you that this is special because your family is here, your friends are here, and your community is here," Clarke said.

The plaques, which line the front of the 123rd Airlift Wing's Lt. Gen. John B. Conaway Headquarters Building, were donated by the non-profit Kentucky Air National Guard Retiree Group.