Salute to the Air Commando Family Dinner to be Held in Fort Walton Beach, FL Benefiting Children of Fallen Special Operations Personnel

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The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is hosting a special event honoring the Air Commando Family at the Emerald Coast Conference Center, Fort Walton Beach, FL, November 16. The “Salute to the Air Commando Family” dinner pays tribute to the rich heritage of the “Quiet Professionals” of the Air Force Special Operations command and honors the sacrifices of those men and women and the families who have magnificently stood by their side.

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is hosting a special event honoring the Air Commando Family at the Emerald Coast Conference Center, November 16.

The "Salute to the Air Commando Family" dinner pays tribute to the rich heritage of the "Quiet Professionals" of the Air Force Special Operations command and honors the sacrifices of those men and women and the families who have magnificently stood by their side.

The home of the Air Commandos, the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla., has been the starting point of many memorable unconventional warfare operations, such as Doolittle's carrier-based bombing raid in Tokyo and the 1970 Son Tay prisoner of war rescue raid in Vietnam. Today's Air Commandos find themselves in support of the Global War on Terror and other conflicts around the globe. Many past Air Commandos have chosen to retire close to Hurlburt Field, and will be attending this event.    

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation has its roots at Hurlburt Field where the "Bull Simons Scholarship Fund" was established in 1980 after the Iranian hostage rescue attempt. The fund was originally created to provide college educations for the 17 children surviving the nine special operators killed or incapacitated at Desert One.

The "Bull Simons Scholarship Fund" has since grown into the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides full college education grants, not loans, to the surviving children of special operations personnel killed in a training accident or operational mission. The Foundation has seen 102 of its students graduate college, and currently has 125 students enrolled in colleges and universities across the country, and another 400 children who have been pledged a college education.

"It is an incredible gift to be able to provide a college education to children who did nothing but wake up one morning, kiss their parent good-bye...and never to see them again," said John T. Carney, President, Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

"We want all the men and women of the Special Operations community to know that the Warrior Foundation and its caring and benevolent supporters will be there to support the children they leave behind," explained Carney, a retired Air Forces Special Operations Colonel.

Guest speakers include: Major General James L. Hobson, Jr., former Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command. Hobson is an accomplished Air Force Special Operations pilot with more than 6,500 flying hours and the recipient of the distinguished MacKay Trophy for the most meritorious flight of the year for Operation Urgent Fury: Grenada Rescue Mission, 1983.

Valerie Chapman, widow of Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman, is also scheduled to speak. As a combat controller, Tech Sgt. Chapman requested close air support during the 17-hour grueling battle in Afghanistan again Al Qaeda, March 4, 2002. He was responsible for requesting the helicopter that extracted the stranded team and aircrew members. Although he lost his life along with six other special operations personnel on what is now called "Roberts Ridge," Tech Sgt. Chapman was awarded the Air Force Cross and the Purple Heart. Tech. Sgt. Chapman left behind two daughters.

The "Salute to the Air Commando Family" dinner is open to the public. General admission tickets, $100 per person, can be purchased online at http://www.acteva.com/go/specialops Tickets will not be available at the door.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Edie Rosenthal for corporate sponsorship information at (302) 733-0630 or for additional information or to make a donation, please visit http://www.specialops.org.

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