Released: 13 Nov 1998
ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (AFPN) -- More than 400 veterans, family members and active-duty military were on hand here Nov. 10 as Air Mobility Command dedicated a C-17 Globemaster III, "The Spirit of America's Veterans."
Deputy secretary of veterans affairs, Hershel W. Gober, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony hosted by AMC commander Gen. Tony Robertson.
"Our nation is what is today because of brave young Americans who answered the call to duty for their country," said Gober. "That is the spirit of America's veterans, and we're proud that spirit is being recognized today."
During his remarks, Robertson characterized U.S. veterans as, "...the heroes who've always carried the weight of this nation on their shoulders, and who have done so with such a constancy and fidelity that it sometimes defies comprehension."
The general also acknowledged the contributions of one of America's newest veterans -- the C-17 that was being dedicated.
The aircraft was received by the Air Force on April 22 and immediately put to work two days later flying humanitarian missions. It was also used to return the remains of Americans killed in the embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya.
"In fact," said Robertson referring to the importance of the aircraft to the AMC mission, "we need to hurry this ceremony; I need that aircraft back in my fleet."
Among those in attendance at the ceremony were Medal of Honor recipient Jack Lucas, who received a standing ovation from the crowd; presidents of national veterans organizations; and Gober's wife, Mary Lou Keener who is the White House nominee for the post of assistant secretary of the Air Force for force management and personnel.
In addition, the Boeing Corporation, which manufacturers the C-17, flew more than 50 veterans from its plants in Long Beach, Calif., Macon, Ga., and Altus, Okla., to the ceremony.
"The Spirit of America's Veterans" is the twelfth C-17 to be dedicated in honor of a national or military theme or a city or town adjacent to a C-17 base or manufacturing location.
Other C-17's have been named "The Spirit of Bob Hope," "The Spirit of Sergeant John L. Levitow," "The Spirit of Berlin," and "The Spirit of Charleston." (Courtesy AMC News Service)
* Air Mobility Command
* Altus Air Force Base, Okla.
* C-17 Globemaster III