8th Annual Emerald Coast Salute to Special Operations Forces Dinner Held at Fort Walton Beach

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Annual Fundraising Event Raises Funds for College Educations to the Children of Fallen Special Operations Personnel

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is hosting its 8th Annual Emerald Coast Salute to Special Operations Forces Dinner on November 15th at the Emerald Coast Convention Center, in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Okaloosa County is home to the men and women of the Air Force Special Operations Command, including several Special Operations Wings, and also the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group. The dinner will pay tribute to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel and their families.

Retired Air Force General Norton Schwartz, who recently retired as the 22nd Chief of Staff of the Air Force, will be the keynote speaker. Sharise Troup, one of the foundation’s scholarship recipients will also be a guest speaker. Sharise’s father, Sgt. 1st Class Jamie Nicholas, was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan while assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group.

Entertainment will be provided by former Air Force Pararescueman, turned country music artist, Donovan Chapman.

“It will be an evening of remembrance and paying tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom,” said the foundation’s president, retired Air Force Col. John T. Carney, Jr.

“It is also a night for reaffirming the foundation’s commitment,” he said, “a pledge made over 30 years ago to provide a college education to all surviving children of special operations personnel killed in combat or training.”

For more than 32 years, the top-rated Special Operations Warrior Foundation has provided scholarship funding for tuition, books, fees, room and board, and some personal expenses along with a laptop computer and printer. The foundation also provides immediate financial assistance to special operations personnel severely wounded in combat.

“It is important to remind our military that their community supports their efforts,” said Carney. “And in the case of the special operations community, if they lose their lives fighting for our freedom, they know the Warrior Foundation is here to provide for their children’s education.”

The dinner, which is being held at the Emerald Coast Convention Center in Fort Walton Beach, starts with a reception at 6:00 pm, followed by dinner and the program at 7:00 pm. Dress for the event is business attire.

The Air Force Special Operations Command provides air support and battlefield airmen for Special Operations Forces around the globe. Also located at Hurlburt Field are the 1st Special Operations Wing and the 24th Special Operations Wing which provide specialized air power and special tactics forces in support of the AFSOC global mission. These units consist of over 7,000 military and more than 2,000 civilian personnel.

Nearby Eglin Air Force Base is home to the 919th Special Operations Wing, the only Air Force Reserve special operations wing. The 919th SOW provides specialized air power in support of the AFSOC mission and employs about 1,190 Air Force reservists.

The newly arrived Army's 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) also resides on Eglin Air Force Base. It consists of approximately 2,200 soldiers trained in unconventional warfare with specialized language and culture training for the region in which they operate.

Businesses are invited to attend to learn more about special operations personnel. Corporate tables are available starting at $2,500 and if interested, companies can purchase tables and donate seats for military guests.

Individuals can purchase tickets online for $125 per person at http://www.specialops.org or call (813) 805-9400 to reserve your tickets now.

For more information, please contact Edie Rosenthal at the Special Operations Warrior Foundation at (813) 805-9400 or email edie(at)specialops(dot)org.

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Edie Rosenthal

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