By Sgt. Jarrett E. AllenJuly 27, 2017
Early on the morning of July 21, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brandon Vanmeter and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Anthony Manfredi, pilots with Company A, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, flew their AH-64 Apache helicopter to Veterans Point at El Dorado Lake State Park in El Dorado, Kansas, to display their aircraft for the Kansas Veterans and Family Reunion.
David Burditt, president of KVFR, said this was their 30th year to hold a reunion and thinks it was fantastic the pilots were able to be a part of it this year. He said they used to have an H-1 Huey helicopter come out every year until it was taken out of service. He said the last one to come through went straight to the scrap yard afterwards.
Burditt said he hopes to get the word out so KVFR can continue to grow. In fact, it used to be called the Kansas Vietnam Veterans and Family Reunion, but in an attempt to get the veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars involved, they updated the group's name.
Vanmeter said he couldn't support the KVFR association more than he does already.
"As a veteran myself, I feel I share a bond with these fine folks," Vanmeter said. "I think the fact the association has been around for 30 years speaks volumes towards the people organizing it."
Vanmeter said he is thankful for the opportunity to support these veterans in a way that they enjoyed and appreciated. He is also proud of the 1st CAB for sharing its resources with a public event honoring the nation's heroes of war. He said the way he and Manfredi were received by the veterans and the rest of crowd was both honoring and humbling.
"I couldn't have been happier to have been a part of the event and I will certainly never forget this experience," Vanmeter said.
Burditt served in the Army right at the end of the Vietnam War with the "Big Red One" at Fort Riley and in Germany. He said he didn't serve in Vietnam, but says he holds a special place in his heart for combat veterans.
"I am proud of my service, but I always hold someone who's been under fire a little higher than I hold myself," Burditt said.