Veterans Group Among Air Show Exhibits

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
A relatively new veterans group is among the organization that will be part of the 2009 Selfridge Air Show & Open House. 

The Veterans of Modern Warfare honors all those who have served in the military since the start of Operation Desert Storm, Aug. 2, 1990. The organization will be displaying the Michigan Fallen Soldiers Moving Memorial Wall, which honors the 212 Michigan soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have died while in service to their nation since 1990. The VMW will be co-located with the Vietnam Veterans of America at the air show. The VVA will be displaying the Michigan Moving Wall, which honors those who were killed while serving in Vietnam. 

The VMW is a national organization which was chartered in 2006 to advocate for the interests of veterans of the nation's most recent conflicts, particularly those in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Southeast Michigan chapter of the WMV was chartered in early 2007 and has been among the more active chapters in getting the organization started. 

"The national organization interacts with Congress and the Dept. of Veteran Affairs to advocate for issues of concern for our newest veterans," said Brad Cook, president of the Southeast Michigan Chapter and a veteran of the 127th Wing at Selfridge. "On the local level, we are working to build awareness and to support our veterans and their families." 

Cook, who also served in the U.S. Army, said the local chapter has held several fundraiser events for area military personnel who were wounded in combat. The chapter also works closely with area Gold Star Families and the Byron Fouty Foundation. Fouty was a soldier from Waterford, Mich., who, along with another soldier, was captured by Iraqi personnel during combat and was missing for 14 months in Iraq. His remains were eventually found by the Army and he was returned home for burial in July 2008. Fouty's stepfather, Gordy Dibler, is a board member of the WMV local chapter. 

Personnel and aircraft from the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing have deployed in significant numbers in recent years. The Wing formerly flew C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters. The C-130 and its crews served in Afghanistan and the F-16s were forward deployed to Iraq in 2004. Since, the Wing has transitioned to flying KC-135 Stratotanker refuelers and A-10 Warthog attack aircraft. 

Cook said WMV works with other veteran organizations on issues that impact all veterans and has been assisted in its early organizational efforts by the local chapter of the VVA. 

"The soldier's story is a common tale and one that has been heard before," Cook said. "But it needs to be constantly repeated to keep people mindful of what these young people in uniform are doing for us." 

For information on the WMV, visit the national web site at www.vmwusa.org, the local chapter's web site at www.vmwsemich4.com, or stop by the organization's booth at the air show, Aug. 22-23 at Selfridge. The first year of dues for veterans who join the organization is free.