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Colorado Air National Guard opens new crew quarters, remembers 9/11

(From left to right) Chief Master Sgt. John Criswell, 140th Wing Command Chief, Brig. Gen. Trulan Eyre, 140th Wing Commander, Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, Colorado Adjutant General, Chief Master Sgt. Annadele Kenderes, State Command Chief Master Sgt. and Brig. Gen. William Hudson, Colorado Air National Guard Commander cut the ribbon and officially open the new 140th Alert Crew building 911 April 2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. John Nimmo, Sr.) (RELEASED)

(From left to right) Chief Master Sgt. John Criswell, 140th Wing Command Chief, Brig. Gen. Trulan Eyre, 140th Wing Commander, Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, Colorado Adjutant General, Chief Master Sgt. Annadele Kenderes, State Command Chief Master Sgt. and Brig. Gen. William Hudson, Colorado Air National Guard Commander cut the ribbon and officially open the new 140th Alert Crew building 911 April 2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. John Nimmo, Sr.) (RELEASED)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (4/2/11) -- Members of the Colorado Air National Guard celebrated the grand opening of the new air crew alert quarters, Building 911, April 2.

The quarters will provide billeting for the pilots and crew of the 120th Fighter Squadron, who are charged with carrying out the 24/7 Air Sovereignty Alert Mission.

The structure was appropriately numbered 911 following the start of Operation Noble Eagle, which came into effect after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"This is a very special day in the history of the 140th Wing," said 140th Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Trulan A. Eyre. "For the last 10 years, we've been operating out of our temporary quarters that were literally trailers. These new shelters are state of the art, thanks to the Congressional Delegation who made this possible."

The historic event also featured a practice scramble alert.

"We've been doing this mission since 9/11 and it's a large footprint here. We have maintainers and pilots out here 365 days and it's a lot of time away from our families and home," said Lt. Col. Mark Schuler, a pilot who participated in the scramble. "So it's nice to have family and friends come out and see firsthand what it is that we're out here doing."

The 120th carries out one of 18 ASA missions across the nation, and is charged with defending the central U.S. masterfully and lethally, if required, in defense of the country.

"As we approach 10 years, 9/11 brings back a lot of memories to all of us. ... You will always know where you were and you will always know what was going on," said Adjutant General of Colorado Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards. "Here out at Buckley, the shelters went up, we started alert and we started down this road of protecting America's way of life."

The military construction project was requested by the Colorado congressional delegation in 2009. The new $4 million dollar facility took more than a year to complete, employed more than 300 people and utilized more than 40 sub-contractors.

More than 100 spectators, including members of the Colorado congressional delegation, witnessed the event.