Second Annual Veteran's Day Ceremony 2008
Photos by Jeff Willhelm and Brian King, Comments by Kyle Kirby
The Maiden High School JROTC presented the colors at the start of the ceremony. They did a spectacular job and are to be commended!
Mike 'Gintac' Ginter did a flyby just after the National Anthem. He is an active captain in the U.S. Navy, and was visitng with his Culpepper, Virginia-based Texan Flight, selling rides. Texan Flight was on hand to correspond with our Veteran's Day tribute. He also gave our keynote speech at the grand opening back in May of 2007. The fly-by was SPECTACULAR and very well received!
US Air Force Veterans
US Army Veterans
US Marine Corps Veterans
US Navy Veterans
Bill Nelson, USN and Col. John Parker, 457th BG
Front row L to R; Joe Miller, 449th BG, NA, Joe Noah, founder of Preddy Memorial Foundation.
Second row L to R; Charles Barnhardt, 11th BG, Bill Nelson, Col. John Parker.
This is our resident comedian and good friend Pete Lail. Pete was on LST 506 at D-Day and continued to serve the remainder of the war in the USN.
Art Sulteen, who flew P-47s and P-51s in the USAAC
Joe Miller, B-24 pilot with the 717th BS, 449th BG. Joe flew 44 missions out of Italy with the 15th AF. He never lost a crew member and had two aircraft shot out from under him.
On the far left is Mac Hunt, USN vet. and Board Member of the Preddy Memorial Foundation. The other two gentlemen I don't know. This is exciting to me that there were so many new faces. It was great to have the PMF so well represented.
L to R, Bill Isenhour, USN aviator extraordinaire. Flew A-4s in Vietnam and was actually shot down over Haiphong Harbor. I will add more later. Floyd Annas who flew the B-17H Flying Fortress in the Air Rescue role and also flew some of the earliest helicopters in WW II!! My dear friend Bill Brown who was also on an LST (512) at D-Day. He and Pete Lail went through basically everything together from boot camp to ship school at Great Lakes, Illinois. Bill is always fantastic with helping me round up veterans for our events.
Floyd Annas, Bill Brown, and Doug Wingate.
This is Doug Wingate. It's hard to be brief when describing Doug's Story. He flew F-105D Thunderchiefs in Vietnam with the 333rd TFS, 355th TFW out of Takhli. I don't have the words for what he represents here. He flew from Thailand and Bill Isenhour flew from the Gulf of Tonkin to hit targets in North Vietnam. It was the most heavily defended airspace in history. Not only that, but the guys had rediculous Rules of Engagement to abide by. This got almost as many guys killed as the defenses. They are as elite a fraternity of pilots as any that ever took to the air. I was very glad Doug and Bill showed up! Also, we have both a F-105 and A-4 at the museum!! Doug also flew F-86s in Germany. Also of interest, Bill Brown is on his left and his nephew David Anderson is on Doug's right. David is a Desert Storm vet and Lenoir Sheriff. He and Bill recently went skydiving and Bill Is 83!!! He plans to go back up on his 90th birthday!!!! God I love these guys!
This is the Pittman family. I don't know their names. Interesting story here. I delivered a package to their house and saw a Purple Heart license plate on their car. I told Mr. Pittman's wife about our event and thank God she brought a whole entourage. Mr. Pittman (seated) was a Korean veteran and his son(?) who is standing was a Vietnam veteran. They were very moved by the event. I have to give props to FedEx here for helping me meet so many veterans!!!
Joe Miller's daughter Helen is in the foreground. We want all of the families to know that they are always welcome here. They do a lot of sacrificing too and we love them all.
Joe Miller and daughter Helen
This is another FedEx story. I delivered to this lady's house and she is a Purple Heart recipient. For the life of me I can't remember her name, but I know where she lives! She told me after the event that she was very moved and wanted me to let her know of anything else we do. God Bless our lady soldiers!
Col. John Parker. I thought he looked fantastic in his uniform!
Part of Joe Miller's family including grandson Owen. Always great to have children witness these events!
Another FedEx story. Barry Parsons is a US Army Vietnam veteran. My truck broke down at his house one day and we had a great time. I will get him back to HAM to get more of his story!
This is our good friend Joe Noah. Joe was cousins with George and Bill Preddy. He founded the Preddy Memorial Foundation and this group has done great work in preserving the Preddy brothers' memories. In doing so they are preserving far more. The PMF has been immensely gracious to HAM and we are forever indebted to them for letting us use so much of their memorabilia for the museum!! I literally wept when Joe gave us the Jack Landrum document for display!!! George Preddy's signature is on it twice.....just fifteen days before he lost his life for our freedom. If you don't know what I am talking about...you need to visit HAM. Also, the seat from Bill's P-51K is also on display as well as Troy White's original painting 'Bailout'! Joe is a USAF veteran and is family here at HAM as is the entire PMF! I love the 352nd hat. His cousin George was the all time leading P-51 ace...EVER! Also of interest, George and Bill Preddy were the only two brothers lost flying the mighty Mustang. Quite the sacrifice. They live on here at HAM!
My FAVORITE veteran! This is mine and Kregg's father, George Kirby. Pop is a US Army veteran and I'm pretty sure I'm a Army baby. He served a variety of roles but was always very athletic. He played on several Army teams and actually got to play with several athletes that enjoyed professional careers. To his right is our beautiful mother Eleanor and my daughter Katy. They did a lot in helping start the Sabre Society and I can't say how much I love them! They are truly my heroes and I want to thank them for all they have done. Talk about sacrifice...
Another great shot! L to R Doug Wingate, Tony Colvard, and the Pittman family.
Another good friend of mine, Denver Jones and his son. Denver was injured in an accident while deployed to Iraq. He is a great guy and I will get more on his history for you. We've never spoken at great length on his service. I was glad he showed up to represent our latest generation of veterans!!
Right here is what it is all about. Jeff Willhelm is a magician with the camera. A thousand words right here!
Tony Colvard being greeted by our own Zach Barringer. Tony served in an elite US Army recon unit in Vietnam. He has become a wonderful friend and like many Vietnam vets, the road has been kind of hard. It is a miracle he is still with us. Tony was wounded and continued to fight until getting shot in the face. His small unit was battling near Que Son (Khe Sahn) against a Division or more of NVA and Viet Cong troops. They held them off until help arrived and stand testament to our Vietnam soldier's mettle. Remember, this was about a dozen men against a DIVISION or more. Tony recently received the Silver Star for his actions in the "Thanksgiving Day Battle". If you knew more of the story you would agree it would merit the Congressional Medal of Honor! One thing I like about Tony's story is that he was good friends with the local Hudson Hardware owner Boyd Wilson. He wore a Ballcap Boyd gave him while in Vietnam. I was very glad to see Tony at our celebration!!!
Two Purple Heart recipients from two wars. Tony Colvard (Vietnam) and Mr. Pittman (Korea). Very moving!
Mr. George Shade greets Denver Jones.
This needs no caption at all. This is the main reason we are doing what we do!
Joe Miller and George Shade!! Joe had a Tuskeegee P-51 escort him after they had an engine shot out of his B-24 late in 1944. He was over Lake Geneva at 18,000 ft and calling for help. The P-51 spotted him and moved closer. Joe asked him to bring it in. The 332nd P-51 driver asked Joe to tell his gunners to move their guns off him and he would get as close as he wanted.
Our own Harvey Dancey. I love our staff and Harvey is always there...money!!! I don't have the words to say how much we appreciate each one of our 'family'!
Joe Miller and Joe Noah
Left- John Murray of the PMF chats with Denver Jones. Again, great to see the PMF at our event. Eddie Smith was also there and I would personally like to thank he and Joe Noah for helping me babysit my little Rachel. I probably owe them money! I have to say I was very proud of her. She was a great ambassador for the 5 year old crowd.
Right- Mac Hunt. What a jacket. I haven't had a chance to talk to him about his career yet!
Here are some photos by member Brian King. He points out that Jeff Willhelm, the photographer for the shots above, was missing from his version of the "Navy Veterans" picture.
We also received several letters of thanks from people who came to the ceremony.
Yesterday's HAM vet. tribute was a memorable event. John & I very much appreciated the attention & time from Linda, Will, and all the Sabre Society members who contributed. You are to be congratulated!
Really enjoyed my visit to the HKY Aviation Museum! You guys should be very proud of what you have done and are doing! Keep up the great work!
A slightly tardy thank you to you and all of the members of the Sabre Society who did such a superb job of entertaining all of the veterans who were able to attend your festivities this past Sunday. Speaking for Mac and myself, we certainly enjoyed ourselves, and appreciate all of your combined efforts.
For me, the opportunity to meet and speak with so many accomplished people was most exhilarating, and unforgettable. I will look forward to meeting with many of these folks, and others with whom I didn't have the opportunity to meet, in the future.
I wanted to congratulate you on the fine job being done there. I have attended several Veterans Day services and that was undoubtedly the grandest I have ever attended. You have a lot to be proud of with your museum and we all appreciate your dedication to space allowed to the Preddy Memorial Foundation exhibit.