By Sgt. William BegleyApril 25, 2014
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - The Soldiers of the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade hosted several members of The Landings Military Family Relief Fund board of directors and their families on a tour of Hunter Army Airfield April 22.
"It is so important to give back to the community that has given so much to us over the last several years," said Col. John D. Kline, commander, 3rd CAB. "The visit today gave our friends a chance to see what goes on at HAAF, and gives them a chance to meet some of the Soldiers."
Kline went on to say that because of the demands of 13 years of continuous war, Soldiers haven't been given a chance to say "thank you" to the gracious people at The Landings, whose relief fund helps so many in their times of need.
According to Louis Molella, a member of the Landings Military Family Relief Fund board of directors, the fund was established in 2007 by Jack Munroe. Molella said Munroe was inspired by a speech given by retired Army Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, who was the commander of the 3rd Infantry Division at the time.
"Lynch said many people support the troops, but don't do much to back up that statement, which is a lot like a bell without a clapper," said Molella.
The Landings Military Relief Fund started with a goal of raising $30,000 to help out Soldiers in need. To date, they have raised over $1 million and have dispersed almost $800,000. They work closely with the American Red Cross to determine which Soldiers to distribute funds to on a case-by-case basis.
Molella said that each case has to be approved by the receiving Soldier's chain of command.
"Everybody who sits on this board of directors has a legitimate desire to show our love and support to the military and the folks who wear that uniform," said Molella. "When less than one percent of our population serves, I think it's even more important that we show our support for our troops."
The military supporters were given a tour of the flight line where they were able to view every air frame the brigade flies, including the AH-64 Apache Longbow attack helicopter, the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, the CH-47 Chinook helicopter and the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout helicopter.
The group also toured the engagement skills training facility where they watched and participated in exercises designed to hone the skills of a rifleman. Skills such as the zero process, and a simulated M4 rifle range were on display for the enthusiastic supporters. The group was also allowed to put their skills to the test during a virtual live-fire scenario.
After the group did their best to take care of the virtual enemy, Kline shut out almost all of the lights in the facility and let the group see what our troops see with the aid of night vision goggles. The group was visibly impressed.
The founder of The Landings Military Family Relief Fund, Jack Munroe, is humbled by what has become of his desire to help out the troops. Munroe said that his fund has helped more than 3,000 individuals.
"I'm very proud of it," said Munroe. "I get so many letters saying 'you're a godsend' that I truly think it's God's fund."
The Landings Military Family Relief Fund receives donations solely from the members of The Landings community.
"It's humbling that people who have not even met the Soldiers, they are helping with their generosity, are so giving with their time and money," said Kline. "It speaks to the patriotism that exists within that community [The Landings]."