Veteran’s Club sponsors discussion on Navy mission, honors deceased seaman

By: Brittany McDaniel, news editor

The Veteran’s Club held their first sponsored event on campus Thursday, Nov. 18, explaining their purpose and background to attendees.
Club President Justin White spoke to the group’s mission. “The purpose of our club is to provide a social network for the student veterans on campus. Eventually, we hope to be the voice for those student veterans.”

Charles Kilburn, a retired Navy pilot, spoke to attendees about the importance of appreciating the nation’s veterans. “Because of [veterans] we have a free country. If you don’t have people who are willing to go out there and lay it on the line, you can’t operate as a society. You don’t have a free country.”

Dr. John Wood, professor of social sciences, took the podium in place of scheduled speaker Hal Cousins, who died Nov. 16, two days before the function. Before passing, Cousins had made arrangements with the Veteran’s Club to offer a $200 scholarship, named “The Commodore John Barry Navy E for Excellence Award.” The club member with the highest GPA will be awarded the scholarship in the Spring 2011 semester.

Cousin’s daughter, Charlotte Cousins, spoke of her father’s military achievements as a decorated Vietnam veteran and serving on the Battleship New Jersey. In addition to his service, Cousins was awarded two Bronze Stars.

C. Cousins told the audience about a recent phone call she made to her father. “I called him to wish him a happy Veteran’s Day. He said, ‘Yes Charlotte, thank you daughter. I’d like to thank myself for my service.’

“I think that is the way he felt for all the veterans. All kidding aside, he was very serious about the importance of being a veteran,” C. Cousins said.

Club Vice President Joshua Silsby, criminal justice major, explained why a veteran’s club on the campus is important, and why events like these are helpful. “We wanted to try to get some of the veterans around the school to become more of a unit. We know how it is when veterans get out of the service and they start going to school,” Silsby said. “You feel more comfortable when you are around people who know what you’ve been through and what you’ve done. We can share on that level and understand.”

Navy Captain Tim Peterson explained the Navy presence at Tinker AFB, commonly known as TACAMO (Take Charge And Move Out), an adage adopted by the Navy that stresses doing more with less.

According to Peterson, the Navy supports the same missions as it once did only now with less than half the aircraft. Prior to 1992, there were 59 active aircraft ready to perform missions. Currently, those numbers have been reduced to only 20, but with the same expectations.
Peterson described the specific mission of the E-6B aircraft also know as the Mercury. These planes, which are enhanced models of the Boeing 707, enable submarines to communicate with aircraft over a certain sea.

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