HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. – Taking full advantage of the beautiful spring weather, the Soldiers of the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade hosted the Bluffton/Hilton Head, S.C. chapter of the Knights of Columbus on a tour of Hunter Army Airfield April 23.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 George Kelly, command chief warrant officer, 3rd CAB, was the aviation subject matter expert on hand to guide the service organization on a firsthand look at the helicopter fleet, and what 3rd CAB Soldiers do to train on a daily basis.
“Our brigade commander, Col. John D. Kline, wanted us to give back to this great organization as our way of saying thank you for everything they have done,” said Kelly. “So we are giving them a tour of HAAF where they can view our aircraft on static display.”
Kelly went on to say the visit was just one way the Soldiers could show appreciation for the gift of phone cards the Knights had donated to 3rd CAB and 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers during a recent deployment. It also gave them a chance to meet the Soldiers and put a face to the good works they have done.
“Many of these gentlemen are veterans themselves,” continued Kelly. “They understand what it’s like to be separated from friends and family for a long time.”
According to their website (www.kofc.org), the Knights of Columbus is a non-profit organization committed to service and outreach programs such as the phone card program. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
Bart Bubnell is one of the knights who participated in the tour at HAAF. He was also the member who started a drive to purchase phone cards for the troops who were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We asked several different sergeants major what was it we could do to help over there,” said Bubnell. “They told us to send telephone cards.”
“This last year alone we collected around $18,000.00 for cards,” said Bubnell proudly. “In the 10 years we have been doing this we have raised over $130,000.00 for telephone cards that we supply to troops overseas.”
Another knight who enjoyed the tour was Jack McGahay. A member of the organization for 10 years, McGahay said he enjoys being of service, getting involved, and giving back.
“We’re just very appreciative to get the opportunity to see what you guys are all about,” said McGahay. “I enjoyed getting inside the helicopters. I usually only get to see this kind of stuff in movies.”
A Knight of Columbus himself, Kelly said it fills him with pride to be able to give back to such a giving organization.
“In 13 years of protracted conflict I’m always amazed at the generosity and gratitude of the American people,” said Kelly. “It makes me happy that I live in a country that so fully embraces the armed forces.”