Today in our nations Hall of Heroes, LTC Kathleen Weatherspoon, chief of Armed Forces Entertainment was sworn in as Colonel Kathleen Weatherspoon, United States Air Force. She chose this very special day in history to honor both her father, a WWII combat veteran as well as the countless heroes who's names are both on the walls of this very special hall at the Pentagon, as well as the countless headstones and grave markers around the World.
A fraction of a percentage of all Armed Forces members ever attain the rank of Colonel (O-6), within the United States Air Force the number of those who obtain the right to wear ‘full bird’ on their shoulders is less then 6 percent. What’s even smaller in percentage are the number of field grade officers who put off their promotion ceremony. Today marked the end of a wait for Kathleen Weatherspoon, it also focused attention on a very special group of war veterans; our Medal of Honor recipients and fallen heroes.
Weatherspoon, chose this day in history (D Day) and this location; Heroes Hall at the Pentagon for many reasons. First, was the guidance that she received from her family, especially her WWII Combat Veteran father, who while having passed on years ago was in attendance to
day in spirit, so much so that his presence could be felt by many.
But that wasn’t all...
Prior to assuming command of the Department of Defense Armed Forces Entertainment Office in 2010, Kathleen Weatherspoon was like so many in our military, she bounced around the country with assignments ranging from the frozen air fields of Michigan and Alaska to the scorching tarmac’s of Texas. It wasn’t until 2004, that Weatherspoon found herself in Delaware. She’d been given command of the 436th Service Squadron, Dover AFB, Dover Delaware, an assignment that she would hold for two years, an assignment that would leave her with one of the highest officer evaluations in the air bases history, an assignment that had her working all hours of the day and night escorting our fallen heroes off of transport planes...
For those that aren't aware, Dover Air Force Base, among other things is our countries primary entry point for fallen heroes. As 2004 rolled into 2006, Major Kathleen Weatherspoon along with members of Patriot Flight Details would make the long walk from the terminal to the freshly arriving transport planes, planes whose cargo bays so use to carrying everything from troops to tanks would instead be bringing home our fallen heroes.
The Major (at the time) would find herself at the head of the marching detail along side Chaplin David K. Sparks, who now 9 years later would fondly recall through his opening remarks at today's promotion ceremony the many ‘walks’ the two had performed for our nation. “As I recall you never really used up any of your leave time during those two years...” said Chaplin Sparks, eluding to the sacrifices that Weatherspoon had made during that assignment to ensure that each and every hero that came home to rest, did so with the highest traditions of honor afforded by Weatherspoon's details. “Here was this Major, doing the work of a Colonel, work that was far beyond her years of service and there was simply no one better at the task then Kathleen” he added before leading the group in prayer.
For American300 the day, the location and the United States Airforce officers promotion marked the end of a 2 week journey that showcased some of our countries bravest and best from the western community. With Pro Bareback Rider Kaycee Feild, World Champion Annie Bianco, Ms Rodeo America and Wrangler National Patriot, Country Music Artist and TV host Lucas Hoge, Wrangler senior advisor Jeff Chadwick along with MSGT George Roach of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard all back 'home' , Armed Forces Entertainment Wrangler National Patriot team leader Robi Powers, found himself sitting in the front row of this very special promotion ceremony. " I hadn't been back from the middle east more then 15 hours when I found myself in this hollowed hall, siting next to one of the highest ranking officials in the United States Air Force, watching my military 'boss' get pinned a full colonel" said Powers " I hadn't paid any attention to where the ceremony was taking place, Colonel Ed Shock (former Chief Armed Forces Entertainment) had me crash at his house when I got in last night from Transit Station Manas - Kyrgyzstan
When I walked into the Hall of Heroes... all I could hear were the lyrics to Lucas Hoge's song 'Medal of Honor'... I didn't even try to get it out of my head throughout the ceremony.
Join us in Nashville, TN the birthplace of Country Music and the site of the 2011 Country Music Association Fanfest (CMA FanFest11) on CMA's opening night, Thursday June 9th at the famous BB Kings Restaurant, in downtown Nashville, for a special ‘Medal of Honor Home Coming Party and Performance’ by Lucas Hoge. American300's Robi Powers will be on hand to emcee the evenings concert and attendees will have a chance to see the one and only 'Medal of Honor Guitar' that Hoge played throughout the Wrangler National Patriot Tour in the Middle East earlier this week. The guitar has been signed by hundreds of our nations finest, our Heroes and while we can't wear the Medal of Honor on our chest, we can feel it in our heart... just as the lyrics suggest. Come wear it on your chest in Nashville this Thursday night... you'll be glad you did and you'll be the first in a long list of millions who will see and hear this amazing song over the months to come.
For information on Thursday's Concert, free to the public please visit:
For information on the nonprofit American300 and the all volunteer staff of Americans that is attempting to raise the bar on resiliency for our troops visit: www.American300.org