Airmen Honor America's Veterans During Air Force Week
(April 23, 2009)
Air Force Honor Guard drill team members sign autographs for retired Chief Master Sgt. Grant Williams Sr. during Hampton Roads Air Force Week's Honoring America's Veterans ceremony April 20 in Hampton, Va..Chief Williams is a Tuskegee Airman who served during
||4/20/2009 - HAMPTON, Va. (AFNS)
-- Air Force officials honored America's
veterans during a Hampton Roads Air Force Week
ceremony April 20 at the Boo Williams Sportsplex
Officials from Langley Air Force Base, Va.,
recognized all veterans from all of America's
wars and displayed some of the professionalism
and precision of today's Airmen with
performances by the Air Force Honor Guard drill
team and the Air Force Band.
Retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force
Robert D. Gaylor, the guest speaker, shared his
thoughts for those who served and for those who
continue to serve in the U.S. military.
"The big difference I see in the world today is
how we define our heroes," said the fifth chief
master sergeant of the Air Force. "Some people
think that a hero is some guy
who can dunk a
basketball or throw a fast ball at 93 mph and
pitch a no-hitter. Those are highly skilled
"Heroes in my book are those who put on
the uniform and respond to the call," he said, "and go do
what they're asked to do; not for the glory and the thanks
but because they took an oath. Every so often, we need to
stop and reflect on what has made (America) so great and
salute the veterans. Most veterans appreciate it. They don't
need a lot of praise, but they like it." |
Chief Gaylor hits the road frequently, delivering speeches
to Air Force bases around the country. He visited Airmen and
35 bases in 2008, and he said he is delighted to meet Airmen
"The Airmen of today are highly trained, motivated and
skilled," he said. "I'm very impressed at what they do."
Before the chief's discussion, the audience of approximately
300 witnessed a simultaneous performance of the Air Force
band "Max Impact" and the Air Force Honor Guard drill team.
"The event was very awesome, I'm very honored to be here
with such a group," said retired Lt. Col. Francis Horne, an
87 year-old Tuskegee Airman. "I wouldn't have missed it even
if they had to bring me out here on a stretcher."
Colonel Horne and three other Tuskegee Airmen, a group of
African American servicemembers who served with distinction
during World War II, and other veterans from past wars were
recognized by the crowd with a standing ovation.
"It feels good," said retired Master Sgt. Harry Quinton,
also a Tuskegee Airman who served in the 477th Bombardment
Group. "I never thought 65 years ago that we would be
recognized to such a great extent. It makes us feel good."
After the ceremony, Airmen serving today met, talked to and
thanked the Tuskegee Airmen and other veterans.
"Seeing these guys, they trail blazed the way for me. I get
a really strong emotional feeling when I see them," said
Staff Sgt. Rico Stowers, a 1st Security Forces
Squadron Airman from Langley AFB.
Chief Gaylor also mingled with the Tuskegee Airmen, and then
took time to personally greet many current servicemembers.
"I've known Chief Gaylor for many years," said Senior Master
Sgt. Shelina Frey, the first sergeant for the1st Equipment
Maintenance Squadron at Langley AFB. "He is a dramatic
speaker with rich history. He delivers his speeches in a way
that young people can appreciate."
Chief Gaylor later hugged and congratulated Sergeant Fry for
receiving a line number for promotion to chief master
Long after the ceremony, Chief Gaylor continued to spread
words of motivation to Airmen.
"There's a great drill command: Continue the march. I would
say to the Air Force today, 'Continue the march.' Whatever
it is you're doing, keep doing it. You're doing it well.
You're serving. You're dedicated. You're motivated. Continue
the march. Continue serving our great nation."
"Right now the world is in a bit of turmoil," he said. "I
think with our diligence we can work it out. We always
Article by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern
Photo by Air Force Senior Airman Vernon Young
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
Air Force News Service
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