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Department of Veterans Affairs  VA provides health care and benefits to our nation's Veterans. Discover more about VA and stories from our community at our blog VAntage Point.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Veteran G. C. “Bud” Kirkland. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1954 to 1977

Bud joined the Marines in 1954 at the age of 16. He soon earned a warrant officer commission. Bud served a post war tour in Korea and two twelve-month tours in Vietnam, where he earned a battlefield commission to 2nd lieutenant. He was among the last Marines out of Khe Sanh. For his service, Bud received the Bronze Star with Valor, Navy Achievement Medal, Vietnam Medal, and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Medal.

At the time of his retirement, Bud had attained the rank of major. He went on to work for Atlantic Research as the manager of the Tomahawk Program and was later promoted to Vice President. He enjoyed fly-fishing and helping other Veterans. He volunteered for Wounded Warrior Project at Boulder Crest Retreat in Bluemont, VA.

He lived in Warrenton, VA and was a devoted to his wife for more than 40 years.

Bud passed away on November 4, 2016.

We honor his service.

On August 8th, local DAV Chapter 20 and Thrift Store held a Central Iowa Veteran Women and Children "Back to School and Work" Event. This event was closed to the public and allowed Veterans needing a little extra assistance this time of year to shop for free. They even provided backpacks filled to the brim with school supplies! Fifty Veteran families walked away knowing they are truly supported and cared for by the entire Veteran serving community. Thank you DAV! Pictured here is VA Central Iowa Health Care System Women's Program Partner, Cindy Kiel shopping for a Veteran who couldn't make the event but pre-identified. She did a great job finding items for that family! #HonoringVets

In July 2018, the Pentagon confirmed that human remains found in Austria were those of a Tuskegee Airman named Lawrence E. Dickson. Captain Dickson is said to be the first black aviator in World War II that was reported missing. During the war, Dickson took off from his base located in Southern Italy, and was en route to a Nazi-occupied Prague. During the flight he reported that he was having engine trouble; this was the last moment Dickson was known to be alive. However, more than seventy years later his remains have been identified. #HonoringVets

Aug 19, 1944 - "Wearing a civilian hat salvaged along the way, a bearded GI amuses both GI's and French civilians as he tries to make himself understood with the aid of a French dictionary in the town of Orleans, France. ” Orleans, France was a major transportation hub during World War II and was heavily bombed by the Allies before its liberation in August 1944. Over 10,000 French civilians died during the Allies liberation of Northern France. Approximately 120,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded in Northern France, liberating them. Salvas. (Army Surgeon General) National Archives and Records Administration #HonoringVets #ThisDayInHistory

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Leah Bond. Leah served from 2000-2004.

Leah enlisted in the Navy in 2000 and was the first female in the Air Department Fuels division on the USS Peleliu. The USS Peleliu was one of the first responders to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During Operation Enduring Freedom, she prepared the Peleliu for deployment by ensuring the safe receipt of over 800,000 gallons of jet fuel. After the deployment of the Peleliu, Leah transitioned to the Aviation Maintenance Administration and earned Petty Officer Third Class.

Leah went on to earn her Master’s in Business Administration and is now the owner of Bond Quality, LLC, helping companies improve organization and quality control. She is vice president of membership for her local Toastmasters club and she also volunteers for the elderly.

Thank you for your service, Leah!

August 9th marked the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Chaplaincy Services. Maj. David Goldstrom, is one of several JWB chaplains who provide guidance, pastoral care, and support to the Veterans who have served our nation. #HonoringVets

On August 15, 2018 Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie visited the VA Boston Healthcare system, VISN 1, Bedford VA, Central Western Massachusetts VA, Regional Benefits Office and the VA National Cemetery. He also presented Inventory Management Specialist Ryan McDonald with a SECVA coin for demonstrating the ICARE Values while working at VA Boston Healthcare System. #HonoringVets

Aug 18, 44 - Pfc. Warren Capers was recommended for The Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States. With other members of his medical detachment, Private Capers set up a dressing station and aided over 330 soldiers on a Normandy beachhead on D-Day. Cunningham. (Army Surgeon General) #HonoringVets #ThisDayinHistory

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Women’s Army Corps Veteran Mary Louise Palmore Paden. Mary Lou served during World War II.

Mary Lou was a corporal in the Women’s Army Corps and served with Squadron D of the 330th Army Air Force. She completed basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia and was later posted at Mather Field, California, and Roswell Air Base, New Mexico. Mary Lou was a real-life Rosie the Riveter whose technical school training as a sheet metalist made her the perfect candidate for restoring B-25 bombers damaged overseas. She also helped maintain B-17s and B-29s. She even got to ride in the Enola Gay, the B-29 plane that dropped the first atomic bomb.

After the war, she married husband John D. Paden in 1946 and they later settled in Texas where Mary Lou became a founding member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1890 Auxiliary and was also an active member of the Arden Hanes Post 351 American Legion, speaking in schools about WWII and the importance of patriotism. Mary Lou passed away on Apr. 13, 2010 at the age of 86.

We honor her service.

On August 13, 2018 the military celebrated the one-hundredth anniversary of the first female Marine. Opha May Johnson enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 13, 1918. After enlisting, Johnson shipped off to boot camp where she remained for the next thirteen weeks. During boot camp is where she received her unforgettable title as the "first female Marine." The memory of Johnson's historic achievement continues to pave the way and encourages more females to join the Corps. #HonoringVets

#Veterans, August 15-21 is National Aviation Week. Thank you for your service, military aviators! And a special thank you also to the Veteran and civilian pilots who keep us safe flying commercial airlines every day. #HonoringVets

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Veteran Private 1st Class Pete Card.
Pete Card joined the United States Marine Corps in 1956. He completed his basic training at Camp Pendleton and served two years at Twenty-nine Palms Marine Corps Base. When Pete became Private 1st Class, his mother had accidentally sewn his stripes on upside down on his uniform. Fortunately, Pete noticed before returning to his unit and the stripes were immediately put in their proper place.
As the Card family has a long history of Military Service, including Pete’s Grandfather COL Lee Card who served in WWI, Pete’s brothers soon followed suit. His brother Dave Card joined the Air Force, Harry “Bill” Card served in the Army, and Jon Card served in the Navy. Family photo shows all the brothers in uniform with their parents and Pete's sister, Ellen, who worked at El Camino Hospital.
Pete is the father of two and the grandfather of many, with more to come. He resides in Santa Cruz, California with his wife, Michele.
Today, he celebrates his 80th birthday!
Thank you for your service, Pete!
Semper Fi!

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