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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 19, 2010) – With a number of representatives of Whiteman Air Force Base attending activities that included a picnic and football game, the University of Central Missouri publicly thanked the men and women who serve their nation during Military Appreciation Day Saturday, Oct. 16.
Speakers at the Military Appreciation Day luncheon at Selmo Park Saturday, Oct. 16, were Brig. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, 509th Bomb Wing commander at Whiteman Air Force Base; U.S. Congressman Ike Skelton, D-Missouri; and University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose.
The day dedicated to the U.S. armed forces coincided with the game between the UCM Fighting Mules and the Missouri Western State University Griffons. Fourth District Congressman Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, and
Brig. Gen. Scott Vander Hamm, 509th Bomb Wing commander at WAFB, joined UCM President Charles Ambrose for the coin toss to begin the game, and the large crowd at Audrey J. Walton Stadium was also treated to a flyover by four T-38 Talon military aircraft. The base commander, congressman and UCM president also provided special remarks at a luncheon at the president’s residence, Selmo Park, prior to the game.
In his welcoming comments, Ambrose reminded those attending the picnic that the university and the Warrensburg community are grateful for the partnership and friendship that is enjoyed with WAFB. He stressed “the freedoms we all enjoy would not be possible without the sacrifices made” by the many men and women who serve at Whiteman in various branches of the military.
Vander Hamm briefly shared insight into the diversity of military units serving at the base, which is home of the 509th Bomb Wing – the B-2 Stealth bomber – and is also host of the 442nd Fighter Wing, Army National Guard 135th Aviation Battalion, and the Navy Reserves Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 114. The base leader thanked those in attendance for making service personnel feel welcome on campus and in the community. He reflected on a time decades ago when the military men and women returning home to the U.S. after deployment were not greeted with open arms.
“That’s not so now,” he told the gathering, “and it has a lot to do with the type of people who love unconditionally – it does not matter where they stand on a spectrum, but they love the people who are serving. So, on behalf of the men and women in uniform who serve now and have served in the past, thanks for opening up your hearts and opening up your campus and homes in fellowship with us. We could not do this without your support.”
Using a quote from Roman orator Cicero, Skelton said “Gratitude is the greatest of virtues,” adding, “I think it’s extremely important that we do everyday what you are doing now - showing your appreciation to young men and women who wear the uniform. They are very, very special. They don’t have to wear the uniform, they don’t have to join, but once they do, they become the finest military in the world regardless of branch. They are our national treasures.”