In light of Veterans Day, Bravo would like to use today’s blog post to honor all those who have served in the United States military and thank them for their dedication to protecting our country.
Veterans Day was first proclaimed on November 11, 1919 by then-President Woodrow Wilson as Armistice Day in remembrance of the fact that World War II had officially ceased a year prior—during the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. In 1938, Congress made Armistice Day an annual, legal holiday. In 1954, Congress formally changed the holiday’s name to “Veterans Day.”
This year’s Veterans Day marks the 93rd anniversary of the holiday. It’s been around a while, but the day’s importance should never diminish. It’s not just the military we honor, but also the attitude and culture of sacrifice, humility, and service that it fosters. In the spirit of this year’s holiday, please don’t forget to thank those you know who have served, and to keep all veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers. Doing so requires just a small fraction of the time that veterans take from their own lives to serve you and protect the country we live in.
We’d also like to recognize some of our very own employees here at Bravo that have either served in or come from families affiliated with the military.
Branch: Air Force
Length of time in service: Seven years
Stationed: Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, USA; Lajes Field, Terceira Island, Azores, Autonomous Region of Portugal
Skills: Aerospace maintenance technician with specialization in C-5 Galaxy maintenance. (The C-5 Galaxy is the largest military aircraft in the world.)
Statement: “I loved most of my time spent in the Air Force though it was a lot of hard work, especially while I was at Dover. The flight line operated 24/7/365 in the elements for 12, 13, sometimes 15 hour shifts 5, 6, or even 7 days a week, especially once the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan kicked off. But it was rewarding labor and I really miss it (can’t believe I’m saying that!). The thing I really miss about being in the military was the strong sense of camaraderie I shared with my fellow service men and women, we always had each other’s back, on and off duty.
Of all the experiences I had while serving, one stands out far more than any other. For two and a half years I was a member of the Dover AFB Honor Guard. Dover AFB is the home of the Department of Defense Port Mortuary and any casualties that occur overseas are flown into Dover AFB. The honor guard team at Dover had the distinct honor and privilege of being responsible for performing the distinguished transfer ceremonies for returning service men and women who had lost their lives serving our great nation. Rain or shine, under a scorching sun or a frigid moon, being able to welcome home a fallen comrade for the final time has been the greatest honor of my life. It is a very humbling thing to march into the cargo bay of an aircraft and see row after row of flagged draped transfer cases while able to hear the sobbing of their loved ones. I also had the pleasure of meeting then Delaware Senator Joe Biden on a number of these occasions.
I can’t say enough about the amount of love and respect I have for all service members, past or present. Never let an opportunity to thank one slip by, it means a tremendous amount to us.”
Brad Baker (Boyfriend to Jess Long)
Branch: Army National Guard
Length of time in service: 8+ years
Stationed: New Jersey
Deployed: Tikrit, Iraq
About Brad: According to Jess, Brad renewed his contract in 2010 knowing that if he did so, he would likely be deployed to Iraq with his unit. Jess says that Brad felt that because he had been with his unit for seven years prior, he wanted to be overseas with them when they went. That’s impressive.
Jess’s Statement: I’m incredibly proud of Brad for serving his country. I don’t think that we take enough time to stop and think about the sacrifices that our service men and women make, and the hardships that their families go through when they’re gone. Veteran’s Day is definitely a good time to reflect upon that.
Master Sergeant Stoyer (Father to Kim Whetsell)
Branch: Air Force
Length of time in service: 32 years
Stationed: Washington D.C.; Patrick Air Force Base, Brevard County, Florida
Deployed: Baghdad, Iraq
Kim’s Statement: My dad has been in the Air Force since I was born. He was active duty before I was born, a traditional guardsman until September 11, 2011, and has been back to active duty since. He’s been working in DC and commuting back to Harrisburg since I’ve been in 8th grade, so it’s been the status quo for most of my life.
My dad’s service is a huge part of our family’s identity and a huge part of who I am. Many of our family memories have some connection to my dad’s service. He raised us with a very can-do attitude and we’ve always been taught that things are never handed to us. He has high expectations out of us and pushes each of his kids to do their best. All teenagers have points where they don’t understand why their parents say/do certain things, but as I’ve gotten older I’m so thankful for the fact that he never let us take the easy way out. I am incredibly proud of his service (and the service of all of our armed forces members) for our country and all of the sacrifices he’s made along the way not just for our family, but for our country.
Jeremy Gutshall (Step-brother to Kim Whetsell)
Length of time in service: 5+years and just signed a three-year re-enlistment
Stationed: Norfolk, Virginia; Gulfport, Mississippi
Deployed: Africa, Spain, Afghanistan
Kim Says: Most of the time that Jeremy has been in the Navy, he’s been deployed. However, he’s stationed in Norfolk, VA, now for a few years so it’s nice he’ll be stateside longer than a few months!