The traditional Veterans Day celebration hosted by American Legion Post 130 took place once again at the Veteran’s Building in Grass Valley. Post Commander Claude Hessel was the Master of Ceremonies for over a hundred guests including veterans from as far back as World War 2.
Keynote Speaker US Air Force Lt. Colonel Joshua Tull and a U2 pilot shared the history of the U2 as well as a couple of stories of his own experiences. Tull’s career began just before the 9-11 attacks on the US and has been directly influenced by the War on Terror. He speaks of one routine mission over Afghanistan which changed dramatically when reports of an American helicopter with two on board was reported downed in hostile territory and both occupants were alive. Tull established radio contact with the two and became eyes for the crew, keeping track of the pilots, the enemy and the rescuers.
While tensions rose as activity around the rescue increased a second helicopter 4 miles away also crashed. Tull was repositioned and had to keep eyes on both incidents as well as communications to a second rescue team and fighter plane. All four Americans were successfully rescued.
The second story Tull shared was only a couple of years ago. It involved the rescue of an important US asset connected to the top of the chain of command.
That asset also successfully recovered.
The most impressive part of Tull’s speech though was his humble recognition of those that fought for America before his time.
Along with Tull’s presentation, the celebration included several songs performed by Mike Baker, Donna Matson singing the National Anthem, the All-Veteran Honor Guard, recognition of all veterans from all military branches, a 3-gun volley and Taps all followed by a pulled pork lunch and beverages.