Veterans Day 2014 Salute

For Veterans Day this year, I’ve decided to do something a little different than in the previous two years. In 2012 and 2013, I did a “photo find” style post, where I shared photos of the various US military branches from social media outlets. However this year, I’ve decided to focus on community events that are dedicated to recognizing the hard work that our military personnel do each and every day!

The Tampa Bay area comprises of a strong military community. MacDill Air Force Base in South Tampa has played a crucial role in US military operations since 1939. The base is home to the United States Central Command, which has played a key role in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the United States Special Operations Command and the 6th Air Mobility Wing. Additionally, companies such as Honeywell and Lockheed Martin, have facilities right here in the Tampa Bay Area.

This past weekend, Robinson High School, with the help of various military and local business partners, held a tribute event for our military members. The afternoon began with a showcase of military units near the school’s football field. Later in the evening, the school’s band held a wonderful concert dedicated to all those who have served in military, both past and present! The school hopes to make this an annual event!

A US Marine Corps assault vehicle. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
A US Marine Corps assault vehicle. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
US Coast Guard members educate the public of how their operations work. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
US Coast Guard members educate the public of how their operations work. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.

Another event, this one by which the Tampa Bay Area as a whole always benefits from, is the MacDill AirFest – now known as the Tampa Bay AirFest. This event showcases the many vehicles, aircraft, and other resources that our military members use on a regular basis to help defend our country, as well as various civilian displays. For many years, the AirFest was an annual event, which during the 1990s, included a children’s carnival full of games and rides, and various weaponry displays. Both have been done away with since 2001.

Due to security concerns, the AirFest was not held in 2002. There was also not an event in 2012, because the 2011 event was held in November of that year. In 2013, Federal level budget cuts forced the cancellation of the 2013 event. Since the 2014 event, many air shows throughout the nation will no longer be held on an annual basis, but rather on a 15 to 24 month basis. Additionally, the Federal government will no longer put out as much funding for these events as they used to, leaving huge fundraising efforts laying on the laps of local municipalities, who in-turn must do more things than ever before to round in corporate and organizational sponsorships.

One of many military planes on display at the 2014 Tampa Bay AirFest. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
One of many military planes on display at the 2014 Tampa Bay AirFest. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
Civilian organizational partnerships have become more vital than ever when it comes to hosting an air show within the United States. This is "Benny" the VW Beetle, used by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office for community outreach. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.
Civilian organizational partnerships have become more vital than ever when it comes to hosting an air show within the United States. This is “Benny” the VW Beetle, used by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for community outreach. Photo Credit: HARTride 2012.

While there are a wide array of events on Veterans Day, such as festivals and parades, there are many other events held throughout the year that are dedicated to our hardworking military members. Please be sure to check with local media outlets regularly for upcoming events!

TO OUR MILITARY MEMBERS, PAST AND PRESENT, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SERVICE!

HARTride 2012

Military Appreciation Month

May is National Military Appreciation Month here in the United States!

Military Appreciation Month

Being that I know a lot of people who are either serving in the military, or have served in the past, it’s only fitting to write up another post that is dedicated to the hardworking men and women who defend our country’s freedom each and every day! Honestly, I didn’t know that National Military Appreciation Month existed until just last year, when I learned about the many ways that my employer supports our military!

What is National Military Appreciation Month?

Military members can always be seen at major sporting events, especially during the playing of our National Anthem. Photo Credit: US Army.
Military members can always be seen at major sporting events, especially during the playing of our National Anthem. Photo Credit: US Army.

National Military Appreciation Month began in 1999 via Congressional designation as a way to not only to recognize and celebrate the achievements of our hardworking military personnel, but to also educate American citizens on the historical impact of our military through community involvement. There’s even an official website that you can visit to learn more about National Military Appreciation Month, all of the events that encompass the month of May, and how you and your community can get involved! Of course, one of the most simplest ways to show your appreciation for our military, is to tell a military service member “Thank You for Your Service!”

Video Credit: US Department of Defense. Posted on the official NMAM website homepage.

What does the month of May encompass in respect to military appreciation?

The month of may encompasses several different days that are dedicated to the US military, including Military Spouse Appreciation Day on May 9, Armed Forces Day on May 17, and of course…Memorial Day on May 26. In addition, VE Day (which marked the end of World War II in Europe) is May 8; and this year…President Obama proclaimed May 1 as Loyalty Day.

The USS Ramage returns home!

The USS Ramage (DDG-61) at sunrise (or sunset, not sure which). Photo Credit: US Navy.
The USS Ramage (DDG-61) at sunrise (or sunset, not sure which). Photo Credit: US Navy.

This post could not have come at a better time! One of my favorite US Navy ships, the USS Ramage (DDG-61) returned to its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA this past weekend after embarking on a nine-month deployment in the Mediterranean region with a focus on Ballistic Missile Defense.

The Ramage is a US Navy Guided Missile Destroyer that was commissioned in 1995, and was named after Vice Admiral Lawson Paterson Ramage (USN), who served during World War II. Now this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned the Ramage in my posts, as I have mentioned the ship in my Veterans Day posts in 2012 and 2013.

LTJG Jamison R. Fiebrandt, whom I know personally. Photo Credit: US Navy.
LTJG Jamison R. Fiebrandt, whom I know personally. Photo Credit: US Navy.

I personally know two officers onboard the Ramage, one of whom is Lieutenant Junior Grade Jamison R. Fiebrandt, pictured above. I thank him and the entire Ramage crew for doing all that they do to help protect our country’s freedom! ROCK ON RAMAGE CREW!

HARTride 2012

Veterans Day Salute 2013

2013-11-11

Yes, Veterans Day here in the US is here! In this post, I want to take a few moments to thank all of those who are currently serving in our nation’s military, as well as those who have served in the past! I personally know many people, friends and family, who have served at one point or another. In my posting last year, I primarily had focused on the US Navy, specifically mentioning about the USS Lassen and the USS Ramage, two of the Navy’s awesome guided missile destroyers. Both ships were deployed to the waters of the Pacific and Mediterranean respectively during the summer months of 2013. The Lassen was originally homeported in San Diego, CA, but has been assigned to Yokosuka, Japan since 2005. The ship recently sailed to Australia, where I would love to visit someday, for several military exercises and port visits. I was able to witness the commissioning of the Lassen here in Tampa back on April 21, 2001. The Ramage is homeported in Norfolk, VA and is currently on deployment until the spring of 2014. I personally know one of the officers who is currently on board the Ramage.

This year, I would like to be able to take a look at the other branches of the US military, since I was not able to include them in my post from last year. With the growing popularity of social media and devices like tablets and smartphones, it’s been easier than ever to follow all the branches of our military! In fact, the US Navy recently unveiled its smartphone/tablet app, which makes it even easier for families of sailors to stay informed on the go! I also would like to point out that many efforts have been made, despite the dreaded sequestration cuts, to modernize our military. For example, many US Navy ships (including the Ramage) have recently undergone extensive mid-life refurbishments to update aging equipment and extend the life of the ship. These refurbishments have made it easier for the ship’s crew to communicate with the outside world via social media!

With all of this said, let’s go into some photos that I’ve been able to gather from the various branches. Within each caption, I have provided proper credit to the respective branch and photographer (if known).

US Air Force

A C-17 Globemaster plane prepares for an exercise with personnel from the US Army and the US Air Force. Photo Credit: US Air Force.
A C-17 Globemaster plane prepares for an exercise with personnel from the US Army and the US Air Force. Photo Credit: US Air Force.
Two US Air Force jets fly side-by-side over the desert. One is a T-38 A-model and the other a T-38 C-model. Not sure which one is which though. Photo Credit: US Air Force/Bobbi Zapka.
Two US Air Force jets fly side-by-side over the desert. One is a T-38 A-model and the other a T-38 C-model. Not sure which one is which though. Photo Credit: US Air Force.
A line of KC-135 Stratotankers conduct an exercise known as an "Elephant Walk", where a single line formation of planes "march" down the taxiway in a fashion similar to a herd of elephants. A fleet of KC-135s are stationed at Tampa's MacDill AFB. Photo Credit: US Air Force/Tech Sgt. Tanika Belfield.
A line of KC-135 Stratotankers conduct an exercise known as an “Elephant Walk”, where a single line formation of planes “march” down the taxiway in a fashion similar to a herd of elephants. A fleet of KC-135s are stationed at Tampa’s MacDill AFB. Photo Credit: US Air Force/Tech Sgt. Tanika Belfield.
An Airman works alongside Marines to assist with loading munitions. Photo Credit: US Air Force/Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales.
An Airman works alongside Marines to assist with loading munitions. Photo Credit: US Air Force/Senior Airman Armando A. Schwier-Morales.

US Army

Two soldiers participate in a casualty exercise. Photo Credit: US Army.
Two soldiers participate in a casualty exercise. Photo Credit: US Army.
Dogs often play a crucial role in assisting our servicemembers. Photo Credit: US Army.
Dogs often play a crucial role in assisting our servicemembers. Photo Credit: US Army.
Military members can always be seen at major sporting events, especially during the playing of our National Anthem. Photo Credit: US Army.
Military members can always be seen at major sporting events, especially during the playing of our National Anthem. Photo Credit: US Army.

US Marine Corps

Sunday, November 10 marks the 238th birthday of the US Marine Corps! What a better way to celebrate than with a cake cutting ceremony! :) Photo Credit: US Marines/Cpl. Lauren Whitney.
Sunday, November 10 marked the 238th birthday of the US Marine Corps! What a better way to celebrate than with a cake cutting ceremony! 🙂 Photo Credit: US Marines/Cpl. Lauren Whitney.
Two Marines (twin brothers) take a few moments to sharpen their music skills. Photo Credit: US Marines/Lance Cpl. Elizabeth A. Case.
Two Marines (twin brothers) take a few moments to sharpen their music skills. Photo Credit: US Marines/Lance Cpl. Elizabeth A. Case.
Run, run, run! :) Photo Credit: US Marines/Lance Cpl. Owen Kimbrel.
Run, run, run! 🙂 Photo Credit: US Marines/Lance Cpl. Owen Kimbrel.
Ready...Aim...FIRE! Photo Credit: US Marines/SSgt. Matt. Orr.
Ready…Aim…FIRE! Being a sniper is definitely no easy task. Photo Credit: US Marines/SSgt. Matt. Orr.

US Navy

Looking into the sunrise (or sunset, depending how you look at it) from the USS Ramage (DDG 61). The US Navy guided missile destroyer is on a Mediterranean deployment until the spring of 2014. This particular photo made the weekly cover photo rounds on the US Navy's official Facebook page during the week of November 4, 2013. Photo credit: US Navy.
Looking into the sunrise (or sunset, depending how you look at it) from the USS Ramage (DDG 61). The US Navy guided missile destroyer is on a Mediterranean deployment until the spring of 2014. This particular photo made the weekly cover photo rounds on the US Navy’s official Facebook page during the week of November 4, 2013. Photo credit: US Navy.
Speaking of destroyers, this is one of the US Navy's newest  Zumwalt-class destroyers. There will be three of these ships initially, but the US Navy hopes to have more in the fleet in the not-so-distant future. Photo credit: US Navy/General Dynamics.
Speaking of destroyers, this is one of the US Navy’s newest Zumwalt-class destroyers. There will be three of these ships initially, but the US Navy hopes to have more in the fleet in the distant future. Photo credit: US Navy/General Dynamics.
Preparing for a fire onboard a ship is a continuous process. Everyone must be prepared for the worst! Photo Credit: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brian Stephens.
Preparing for a fire onboard a ship is a continuous process. Everyone must be prepared for the worst! Photo Credit: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brian Stephens.
The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returning to San Diego, CA (April, 2013). Photo Credit: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dean M. Cates.
The USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) returning to San Diego, CA (April, 2013). Photo Credit: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dean M. Cates.

In Conclusion

Veterans Day is always a day where we can take a few moments to say “Thank You” to all those who have served our country. Our service members often take great risks to protect our country and its freedoms, and many have given their lives in order to keep all of us safe from harm. With that said, please be sure to thank all those who have served in our military; whether it be past or present. Our service members deserve a lot of appreciation for what they do each day!

Below, I’ve posted some links where you can learn more about our military and view photos and videos of our military in action.

GOD BLESS OUR MILITARY!

HARTride 2012

Veterans Day 2012 Salute

It is said that a photo is worth a thousand words. I truly believe this saying when it comes to many photos that we look at each day. With Veterans Day approaching, I wanted to take some time to first thank all those who are serving, or have served in the branches of the United States military. I also would like to take a moment to post a couple of photo finds that I’ve come across during the past few months.

I first wanted to start with the US Navy, by which I’ve been very fascinated with since I was a child. In 2001, I had a rare opportunity to witness the commissioning of the USS Lassen (DDG 82), which is one of many guided missile destroyers that the Navy has in its fleet. The Lassen is currently stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, where it has been since 2005. Prior to 2005, the ship was stationed in San Diego, CA.

USS Lassen Commissioning in Tampa (2001)
The commissioning ceremony for the USS Lassen (DDG 82) in Tampa, FL (April 21, 2001). ~ Photo taken by HARTride 2012.

The above photo is of the commissioning ceremony that took place on April 21, 2001 in Tampa’s Channelside District. Back then, Channelside was just beginning its transformation from a largely industrial center into a livable urban complex. Although the cruise ship port was already in place during the 1990s (and the Florida Aquarium since its opening 1995), the residential boom in the district did not take full effect until around 2003.

Touring the USS Lassen definitely felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, especially now that security has become so tight since the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. So it may be a very long time before I have another chance to be able to step aboard another active US Navy ship. Nonetheless, I enjoyed every moment of the ceremony and tour, including being able to see Tampa’s downtown skyline from the ship’s bridge.

Yes, I will say this right now, the USS Lassen is one of my favorite US Navy ships! 😀

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