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dispatchguy

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This week we will honor a U.S. Air Force pilot killed in action during the Vietnam War and assist in returning his remains to Georgia for burial. Air Force Capt. Lorenza Conner was shot down over Vietnam in 1967. His remains were discovered and identified last year, and he will be coming home to Georgia on Friday on our flight from Honolulu to Atlanta. (DL 1282/24OCT HNLATL)
Gerry Bopp, a Delta pilot and a Vietnam vet, will captain the HNL-ATL flight. On board, Todd Moyer, an inspector at the Technical Operations Center, will be volunteering his time as one of the escorts.
“I am doing this in part as a Delta employee, but I ride escort as a Ride Captain with the Patriot Guard Riders escorting fallen soldiers home during funeral services,” Todd said.
In Atlanta, the flight will be met by one of our honor guard teams at the ATL airport, which will transfer the remains to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Capt. Conner will be laid to rest at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Ga., north of Atlanta.
In addition to Atlanta, we have volunteer honor guard teams in Boston, Detroit, Norfolk, Va., Salt Lake City and Seattle. The ATL team has special jumpsuits made by our uniform supplier, Cintas, displaying a military seal on the back. The members render honors along with the official military escorts and pay last respects to deceased service men and women as they are transported through the airport. Most ATL volunteers are former service men and women or have family who are or were in the military. They have flags and when possible present a commemorative medallion on behalf of Delta to the soldier’s family with the inscription: “We will not forget their sacrifice.”
“We're proud of our honor guard volunteers who represent Delta in paying special honors to the men and women who have served our country,” said Gil West, s.v.p.-Airport Customer Service. “The ceremony is not only meaningful to the families, but for everyone who has the privilege of seeing it. It is just another example of Delta's culture of caring, and the pride Delta people bring to their work.”
 

"Luke"

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A story of another true American

Chopper Pilot Served Six Tours Of Duty In Vietnam

In what began as a search for a fallen aviator's grave, the family of a Vietnam veteran was recently presented with more than 100 medals and awards he earned for service to a grateful nation.
Helen Tilgner, remembering a scar on her father's left knee, realized he had earned a Purple Heart... but had no idea her father had won more than 100 medals and awards as a chopper pilot in Vietnam, the Associated Press reported. He never talked about his military honors.
The awards were presented to Ms. Tilgner and her two sons by Massachusetts Senator John Kerry on Saturday, 26 years after her father's death.
"I feel like it is recognition that he should have had long ago, to be remembered with honor, and it's a legacy I get to pass down to my sons so they are better aware of who he really was," Helen Tilgner said.
Armit Tilgner served six tours of duty in Vietnam, the AP said. In addition to the Purple Heart, he earned four Bronze Stars, five Army Commendation Medals, three Meritorious Unit Commendation Medals, two Valorous Unit Awards and 136 Air Medal Awards.
After 20 years in the Army, Tilgner retired in 1973. He went to work for a medflight firm, transporting sick people from remote villages in Malaysia. In 1982, his helicopter crashed during a severe thunderstorm. His daughter Helen, then 23, never knew where he was buried.
Five years ago, Helen contacted Senator Kerry, who helped locate her father's grave in Sarawak, Malaysia. Later finding his discharge papers, she realized how many honors he had won. Not knowing the whereabouts of the original medals, she asked Kerry for his help in replacing them.
Kerry, also a Vietnam veteran, said he was stunned by the number of awards Armit Tilgner received, and said he was touched by the fact that his two grandsons have followed in his military footsteps.
Army Sgt. Jason Kendrick, 28, having already served two tours of duty in Iraq, is scheduled to fly out for his third tour next month. Army Specialist Jerrod Kendrick, 27, returned from Afghanistan last May.
FMI: www.vva.org, www.army.mil
 
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