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pagesofhistory Valor Flight


Servicemembers who fought in the Korean War are honored with free flights to tour the memorial erected in their honor on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.


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n Veterans Day weekend, November 2011, more than 100 Korean War veterans from Ala-


bama traveled to Washington, D.C., to visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial. It marked the first time the nonprofit orga- nization Valor Flight sponsored such a trip to allow the veterans to visit the memorial. For many of the veterans, it was both the first time they had visited the memorial and the first time they had seen their fellow comrades in arms since the end of the war. During their visit, the veterans also


toured the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., and the Iwo Jima Memorial. Navy Cmdr. John O’Brien, member of the DoD 60th Anniver- sary of the Korean War Commemoration Committee, awarded the veterans a cer- tificate of appreciation signed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in honor of their service during the Korean War. “Your country has not forgotten your


sacrifice,” O’Brien said. “Your utter selfless- ness has made possible the freedom and prosperity we enjoy today.” The Korean War, often referred to as the “Forgotten War,” lasted from 1950 to 1953 and cost thousands of servicemembers their lives. Valor Flight, based in Madison, Ala., is modeled after the Honor Flight program, which takes World War II veterans on day- long trips to Washington, D.C., to see the memorial built in their honor. Valor Flight President Steve Celuch hopes to conduct another trip in the spring. Each flight costs


PHOTO: COURTESY THE HUNTSVILLE TIMES/ROBIN CONN


about $100,000. To learn more about Valor Flight, visit www.valorflight.com.


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Long-Serving General Retires aj. Gen. Alfred K. Flowers retired Jan. 1 from the Air Force as the military’s longest-serving


active duty general. He is also the longest- tenured airman in the Air Force and the longest-serv- ing active duty African-American in DoD. Flowers com- pleted 25 as- signments in the past 46 years. He retired as deputy assistant secre- tary for budget, overseeing the Air Force’s roughly $119 billion annual budget. Before then, his duties ranged from being a warehouse- man at Grand Forks AFB, N.D., to helping gather the dead and wounded in Vietnam. Flowers’ grandparents, who were share-


croppers, raised him in Kinston, N.C.. He joined the Air Force after high school. During his career, he earned three college degrees, served as director of resources at U.S. Special Operations Command, and commanded the 2nd Air Force at Keesler AFB, Miss., which oversees military and nonflying technical training. MO


History Lesson On Feb. 24, 1944, Army Maj. Gen. Frank Merrill’s special forces unit, or Merrill’s Maraud- ers, began a campaign in Japanese-occupied Burma. Troops walked 1,000 miles, without artil- lery support, and fought 35 engagements.


Korean War veteran David Crooks, left, and guardian Ginger McGinity visit the Korean War Memorial during a Nov. 12, 2011, Valor Flight.


FEBRUARY 2012 MILITARY OFFICER 73


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