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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
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Tade Talks of Lessons Learned

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Sept. 12, 2014) – In a ceremony on the quadrangle Sept. 11, University of Central Missouri Distinguished Alumnus Lt. Col. Gavin Tade told the gathering lessons learned from the worst terrorist attacks on American soil are contributing to greater preparedness among airline personnel.

Tade, who graduated from UCM in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in aviation technology, was the keynote speaker during the annual Patriots Day ceremony. A commercial pilot with American Airlines, he also serves as commander of the 73rd Aerial Port Squadron at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas.

911 bell ringing

From left, members of Whiteman Air Force Base, Airman 1st Class Tyler Hall and Greg Smith, assistant fire chief, performed the “tolling of the bell” ceremony during the Patriots Day observance at the University of Central Missouri on Sept. 11. The bell ringing is symbolic of the call for firefighters who responded in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil.

During his remarks, Tade stood at a podium wearing the uniform he now dons as an airline pilot, while he retraced the timeline for one of the darkest days in the nation’s history. He noted that at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center, followed by United Airlines Flight 175 striking the south tower at 9:03 a.m. At 9:37 a.m., AA Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon, and at 10:03 a.m., UA Flight 93 flew into the ground near Shanksville, Pa.

“We lost 33 crew members who were wearing the same uniform I am wearing right now,” he told the gathering. “You ask yourself, ‘what were the lessons we learned from the events on 9-11-2001. We now have the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and we now have what is called a federal flight deck officer program.”

Learning from the events of 9-11, he talked about the types of training airline pilots receive today. This includes learning how to fight in hand-to-hand combat, and extensive instruction in use of a 40-caliber pistol.

 “So after events of 9-11, if you would choose to come on our flight deck…you will be greeted by a 40 caliber round, if you choose to breach that cockpit door,” he said.

“Now I am a federal flight deck officer, I carry a pistol when I fly and I do have a badge. It’s a big lesson learned, and there’s thousands of others out there now, just like me,” Tade said.

Tade expressed tremendous appreciation for those who wear a uniform, from firefighters and ambulance drivers to police officers and the men and women in the military. He talked about a time in America when military personnel and veterans returning from Vietnam were treated with disrespect. Some were actually spat on.

“We take care of our military veterans. We treat them with honor and dignity,” he said.” America, we have learned our lesson.”

Tade talked about the extensive loss of life in 9-11, urging those present not to forget both the civilians and people in service who lost their lives. He noted the 343 firefighters, 72 police officers, 33 flight crew members and 3,000 innocent men, women and children who died.

“Shall we never forget our fallen heroes that are gone too soon,” Tade said. “God bless them and their families.”

In October 2013, Tade was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award, the top honor presented by the UCM Alumni Association. Following graduation from Central Missouri, he began his career with the Iowa Air National Guard. After completing the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science, he began pilot training in Texas at Reese Air Force Base where he earned his wings. As a commanding officer, Tade has protected the United States during multiple deployments in countries such as Iraq, Kuwait and Turkey. Inhis civilian career as an airline pilot, he has logged more than 5,000 flight hours.

UCM President Charles Ambrose opened the event recognizing the large number of students who serve their communities and country.

“Without question, we want to recognize the over 1,000 students on our campus this semester who are members of our armed services, our veterans and dependents who are enrolled,” he said.

He noted there are countless other students on campus who are either engaged or plan to enter public service careers as first responders.

Ambrose said, “On days like today, social media takes a turn toward remembrance and thoughts that draw us together. This morning was one of them.”

He talked about a social media post by a close friend titled, “We Became One”, which noted how people came together on 9-11 to help others. He added, “Because of 9-11, we should be one people. You honor us with your presence today.”

Other activities included the singing of the national anthem by UCM freshman Carina White; rifle tribute presentation featuring the Lee’s Summit High School Armed Exhibition Drill Team led by Col. Rick Milligan (Ret. Air Force), senior aerospace science instructor; and the firing of a cannon and return of flags to half-mast by the UCM Army ROTC battalion. The ceremonial “tolling of the bell” also was conducted following remarks by Scott Ammon, UCM assistant professor of safety sciences and local volunteer firefighter, with Warrensburg, Johnson County and Whiteman Air Force Base firefighters in attendance. Two members of Whiteman Air Force Base, Airman 1st  Class Tyler Hall and Greg Smith, assistant fire chief, performed the bell ringing, symbolic of the call for firefighters who responded to the incidents on 9-11.