Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Operation Tango Mike celebrates seven years of supporting troops

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A young Operation Tango Mike volunteer with some of the care packages at the packing party on Thursday, March 18, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Ron Quick.




LAKEPORT – Sometimes things are just meant to be. It must be the case for Operation Tango Mike.


Every month, the community comes together to pack and ship care packages for deployed troops. Every month, there are somehow adequate supplies for the packages and funds for shipping. Even in these difficult times, the community’s generosity ensures support and care packages for our troops.


Just as the March 18 packing party was getting under way, I was reading the most recent thank you letters received from deployed troops and thanking our volunteers for sustaining our efforts.


At that moment, Suzi DeFrancisci and Paul Bryant wheeled in a cart carrying a giant cake and gorgeous bouquet of flowers. They were presented to me as a marker of our seven years of continuous dedication to our deployed troops.


I will be the first to admit that I was overcome with emotion and asked that Paula Bryant read the card accompanying the flowers. I couldn’t read through the tears rolling down my face.


After we all composed ourselves, I spotted a handsome young man standing tall in his dress uniform. Senior Airman Jonathan Hulsey had come to pay a visit! I invited SrA Hulsey forward and he came to the front of the room to address the crowd.

 

 

 

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An emotional Ginny Craven looks at an anniversary card at the Operation Tango Mike packing party on Thursday, March 18, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Ron Quick.
 

 

 


He began by saying, “I don’t get emotional. But I want to thank everyone for the support I received while I was deployed.”


It was then that the young man’s voiced cracked a bit and everyone in the room knew how much every care package meant.


Hulsey went on to speak of his sincere gratitude for the care packages, cards, letters and simply knowing that people cared.


He presented an American flag, folded in the traditional triangle, as a symbol of his gratitude to Operation Tango Mike and the Lake County community. It was accompanied by a certificate from The Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component (CJSOAC), whose slogan is “Quiet Professionals.”


The certificate read, “United States Air Force, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). This is to certify that the accompanying flag was carried on a covert night operation, by members of the 22nd Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, United States Air Force while deployed to Iraq in support of the Global War on Terrorism during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This flag is presented to Operation Tango Mike on behalf of the Assault Zones Reconnaissance Team.”


Hulsey explained that the mission was unique, was a first time operation and is likely to never be repeated in the history of the United States Air Force. Of course, we all wanted to know more, but being the consummate professional Hulsey simply said, “That’s all I can say.”


That presentation and that moment brought home, once again, the critical need to support our troops. Hulsey thought ahead, while preparing for a covert night operation, to take with him a flag for his supporters. Those care packages must have made some impact on that Airman.


The packing party progressed and Hulsey stayed, joining his supporters to assemble care packages for deployed troops. Hulsey and his family politely excused themselves, saying they were going to join the rest of the family for Christmas. Yes, it was going to be Christmas in March for the Hulsey family who had waited for their Airman’s safe return.

 

 

 

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Senior Airman Jonathan Hulsey reads a certificate from The Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component to Ginny Craven at Operation Tango Mike's packing party on Thursday, March 18, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Ron Quick.
 

 

 


Before leaving, Senior Airman Jonathan Hulsey called me aside. He looked at me at said, “Please, tell these people how much I appreciate all they did for me. I mean it.” He gave me a hug and neither of us could or needed to say anything more.


I doubt there could have been any better way to end a packing party or to mark Lake County’s seven-year anniversary of sending care packages.


Operation Tango Mike packing parties are held at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at Umpqua Bank, 805 11th St., Lakeport. Everyone is welcome.


For further information please call 707-349-2838 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Donations are appreciated and may be submitted to 5216 Piner Court, Kelseyville, CA 95451.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 

 

 

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The certificate from The Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component presented to Ginny Craven of Operation Tango Mike at the group's packing party on Thursday, March 18, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif.
 

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