“The character that our veterans develop during their terms of service flow into the fabric of our nation,” emphasized U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 (Ret) Stanley Wood.
It was during Rappahannock Community College’s Veterans Day event on November 9 in which Wood, a combat veteran, and the event’s keynote speaker, elaborated that “[this character] is found in our schools, in our businesses, and in our churches.”
Wood, a recipient of the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross, deployed to combat in Desert Storm in Iraq, the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia, as well as other conflicts in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
During the Battle of Mogadishu, now readily known as “Blackhawk Down,” Wood’s Blackhawk helicopter “Super 66” was responsible for the insertion of Ranger forces into the city on October 3, 1993. His aircraft later received heavy enemy fire in that battle and was rendered unserviceable.
Speaking with authority and wisdom that comes only from experience, Wood shared how his military service had shaped his character. From his time as a U.S. Army Ranger, through the rigors of Flight School, and during his service in Special Operations Aviation, Wood spoke of the humility, integrity, and courage he learned.
He also commented that the volunteer spirit of our nation is amazing.
“Today, a person that enlisted in 2001 in response to 9/11 attacks and bothered to stay in for a career has seen nothing but war.”
Concluding his remarks, Wood stressed, “This character makes our communities and nation stronger, and for this and the sacrifices that are made in combat we should give thanks to our nation’s veterans.”
And, give thanks is exactly what RCC did. The event which took place on both campuses celebrated veterans who work at the college and veterans who take classes at RCC.
Hutt Williams, Dual Enrollment Advisor and College Recruiter, introduced the event with comments about his service in the Air Force. Then, Sharon Mann, RCC’s Business Office Technician, beautifully sang the National Anthem.
Before the keynote address, Master sergeant Ryan Maline, U.S. Air Force Recruiter, commented on the importance of education and how the Air Force helped him reach those education goals.
Charlene Jones, Student Activities Coordinator, concluded the event by thanking all those who attended and especially thanking those who have served our nation.