By Ms Linda K Loebach (AMC)November 18, 2011
Seven men and one woman. Seven Soldiers and one Sailor. All veterans and all members of the Close Combat Team in the Commodity Management Directorate at Joint Munitions Command's headquarters at Rock Island Arsenal.
As Veterans Day approached, some members realized that about a third of their team is comprised of veterans. They decided to honor their co-workers by recognizing them at a pot-luck dinner for Veterans Day.
The idea grew from there. Catherine Kerch, team lead and inventory manager, asked each veteran to write a summary of their active duty experience. Then she assembled a patriotic display combining each vet's biography along with a photo. Many photos of the vets during deployment were also prominently displayed.
This group of vets served in a wide variety of positions during Vietnam, the Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. They worked in ammunition storage, warehouse operation, logistics, communications, ammunition inspections, EEO investigations, heavy equipment operations, ammunition supply, as a diesel mechanic and as a combat medic.
In a heartfelt ceremony, the team recognized each vet for their service to their country, and for their contributions to JMC. A team member read a moving poem about what it means to be a vet. Then it was on to the food and the camaraderie of the close-knit team.
Afterward, Jim Gahagan, inventory manager said, "This was an honor, for my team to recognize the other vets and I."
Veterans Day began as Armistice Day to recognize the end of World War I and is observed on November 11th, the day World War I ended.
More than 43 million veterans have served since the United States was formed. Twenty-four million veterans are living today.
Eric Baker, industrial specialist and one of the eight vets honored, served in the Army for more than 20 years. He said, "Joining the Army was one of the best decisions I have ever made."
On Veterans Day, as well as the rest of the year, we all honor that sentiment and that kind of service.