364th ESC Partners with Business on Army Birthday
June 21, 2013
SEATTLE-TACOMA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, Wash. -- Members of the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, a U.S. Army Reserve unit headquartered in Marysville, Wash., were guests of honor at an Army Birthday and Flag Day celebration hosted by Alaska Airlines here June 14.
Col. Fred Maiocco, deputy commanding officer of the 364th ESC, was the event's guest speaker.
"For 238 years, the nation has entrusted the Army with preserving its peace and freedom, and defending its democracy," Maiocco said. Our soldiers are driven by the ideals of the Warrior Ethos and commit themselves to succeed in any mission our nation gives them.
"Our soldiers believe that our Constitution and the freedom it guarantees are worth fighting for," Maiocco added.
The event was put on by Alaska Airlines' Military Employee Resource Group.
"More than 10 percent of Alaska Airlines employees are veterans or currently serve in the reserve components," said Maj. Greg Smith, a member of the 654th Regional Support Group, an Army Reserve unit in Tacoma, Wash., and a project manager with the airline.
Another Alaska Airlines employee and reservist said the event served as a chance for others to learn about their group.
"We thought this would be a great opportunity for members of the Military ERG to network and maybe get other veterans and reservists interested in joining," said Stephanie Cootsona, Alaska's manager of international facilitation. Cootsona is also a first sergeant in the Air Force Reserve.
Maiocco said the airline's support to service members, both as passengers and employees, meant much to the Army.
"Alaska Airlines does so much for our nation's service members, and I offer my thanks on behalf of the entire 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, the Army, and the Army Reserve," he said. "Your commitment to honoring fallen soldiers, the military overall, and the number of veterans among you is truly impressive."
Alaska Airlines has a special program for flights that are carrying the remains of fallen service members to their final resting place.
"The program started when we realized that we weren't sure what the protocol [for transporting] was," said Jason Holden, an Alaska aircraft maintainer and retired Air Force master sergeant.
Holden said the all-volunteer program makes sure that fallen service members, and their escorts, receive the best treatment the Alaska Airlines crews can give.
"We assign people to work with the escorts," Holden said. "Give them a private area where they can sit and rest, have something to eat, without getting distracted from their duties."
Holden said the fallen service members are treated with dignity and respect. A custom flag-bedecked cart, polished to a gleam, transports the warriors from aircraft to aircraft.
"A lot of our people come in on their off time to help with this," Holden said. "We don't want to charge the company overtime for something this important."
The June 14 event also recognized Flag Day, and was a fitting tribute to the many veterans in the audience, organizers said. A local Civil Air Patrol color guard posted the national and state colors to begin the recognition ceremony.
Maiocco, the 364th ESC deputy commander, thanked the airline employees, saying strong economic performance is also a way of serving the country.
"Thank you again to the men and women of Alaska Airlines who have graciously invited us here today," Maiocco said. "Strong businesses also are part of the strength of this nation."