How To Render a Salute
I was flying SR-71s,” recalls Thomas Veltri of the Donald W. Steele Sr.
Memorial Chapter in Virginia, “every time I came down the ladder after a
mission, there was someone there to hand me a beer and tell me what a
great job I had just done.”
He says that
in follow-on Air Force assignments, “I worked harder than ever, and I
felt I was making a real impact, but there was nobody there with a beer
or a pat on the back.”
Veltri now makes
sure the airmen and civilians in the chapter’s area receive a thank you
for a job well done. For the past 17 years, he has been the VP in charge
of the chapter’s Salute program.
Five times a year, the chapter hosts a “Salute to ... ” honoring a different Air Force directorate based at the Pentagon.
January the chapter held a Salute to the Strategic Plans and Programs
directorate. Salute to the Air National Guard took place at the Sheraton
Pentagon City on March 13. Salute to A3/5 was on tap for this month at
the Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Crystal City.
close scheduling keeps Veltri— who inherited the program from former
Chapter President Richard Siner, Mary Anne Thompson, and Steve
Gress—working his database.
That’s his first piece of advice on how to carry out a Salute program:
At these events, guests
sometimes run into people whom they didn’t realize worked in the same
organization, Veltri says. It’s one reason he’s pleased to “pay tribute
to the day-to-day activity of folks working in the Pentagon.”
L-r: Donald W. Steele Sr. Memorial Chapter President
Gavin MacAloon with Lt. Col. Thomas Koory, Cheryl Franklin, Capt. Dustin
Jones, Sarah Hobbs, Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller, and Salutes VP Tom
Veltri. Moeller shut down the A8 shop on this January afternoon so
everyone could attend the Salute to Strategic Plans and Programs.
303rd Air Refueling Sq, Bermuda and Tucson (1953-63), including associated units. Oct. 23-27 at the Hyatt Place Hotel, Grapevine, TX. Contact: Marianne Madory, 1805 Rim Rock Trail, Mansfield, TX 76063 (951-232-9192) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
324th Fighter Gp, 9th AF (WWII). June 20-23 in Lexington, KY. Contacts: email@example.com or Judith Wurmser (859-221-1509) or Linda Noffsinger (859-608-1208).
504th Bomb Gp, Tinian (1945). Sept. 20-24 in Washington, DC. Contact: Kaz Barcynski (252-637-0587) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Air Force Transportation Officers. June 6-9 in O’Fallon, IL. Contact: Dick Glogowski (618-624-6115) (email@example.com).
Former Military/Overseas “Brats.” East Coast reunion: Aug. 8-11 in Daytona Beach, FL. West Coast reunion: Oct. 10-13 in Laughlin, NV. Contact: Joe Condrill (316-269-9610) (firstname.lastname@example.org).
NAM POW, Assn of Vietnam War POWs. May 22-25 at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA, and the Hyatt Regency in Newport Beach, CA. Contact: Tom Hanton, 2050 Jamieson Ave., Unit 1115, Alexandria, VA 22314 (703-615-8238) (email@example.com).
Unit reunion notices should be sent four months ahead of the event to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail notices to “Unit Reunions,” Air Force Magazine, 1501 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22209-1198. Please designate the unit holding the reunion, time, location, and a contact for more information. We reserve the right to condense notices.
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