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Veteran for Life

Veterans for Life

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The fact is, 11.6% (3,381) of Exchange Associates are Veterans of the Armed Forces. Some work side-by-side with you every day and you may not even know it. On this very significant Veterans Day in Exchange history, we wanted to shine a spotlight on 30 associates who have worn or still wear the uniform, and honor their service and countless sacrifices while serving our great Nation. Click on the photo below to open an interactive PDF. Learn more about these 30 Veterans by clicking on each photo to read their biographies.

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Veteran for Life:
Nicole Stoskopf

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U.S. Air Force 2013-Present Aviation Resource Manager My Air Force career has been a great experience so far, and I am looking forward to many more years to come. I enjoy serving and will continue to serve until retirement. The only regret I have is that I didn’t join sooner! My dad was an Air Force officer and I grew up on military bases most of my life. Once he retired, I missed the military life and decided that one day I would join myself. I joined the Air Force in 2013 to follow in my dad’s footsteps and fulfill my urge to serve. I am an aviation resource manager and work with the C-130s and aircrew, and provide support…

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Veteran for Life:
Marian Phyllis Blackburn

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U.S. Army Reserves 1982-1993 Supply Specialist/Administrative Specialist/Quartermaster Officer To this day as I serve the best customers in the world, as I have for 24 years, I have troops from that era, most retired now, say they remember me from Desert Shield-Storm. I proudly served in the Army Reserves, working in various ranks and positions. I held many additional duties.  I was an E1 to an E5 for five years, which included my unit work in Nebraska as a supply specialist, an administrative specialist and supporting an Army Reserve school in Colorado and performing recruiting duty in Western Nebraska. In 1986, I attended Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning and received my commission as an officer. In 1987, I received my…

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Veteran for Life:
Jonathan Saunders

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U.S. Air Force 1992-2015 Vehicle Operator/Career Assistance Advisor I worked for AAFES six years while active and continue to provide support to those who serve our country. I served in the United States Air Force for a little more than 23 years. I served as a vehicle operator and career assistance advisor. I provided logistical support for more than 60 U.S. squadrons and 34 UN organizations. I traveled from Lackland AFB  in Texas to Shaw AFB in South Carolina; from Korea’s Osan AB to Germany’s Spangdahlem AB; from Italy’s Aviano AB to Portugal’s Lajes Field. I introduced more than 2,000 new Airmen on their journey at their first duty station at Aviano AB. I had the privilege to travel more than…

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Veteran for Life:
Phillip Provan

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U.S. Air Force 1966-1970 Weapons Mechanic I am the third generation of four generations of family serving in the military (grandfather, WWI; father, WWII; myself, Vietnam; son-in-law, Iraq). I am proud of the opportunity to serve and protect my country in time of war. I am the third generation of four generations of family serving in the military (grandfather, WWI; father, WWII; myself, Vietnam; son-in-law, Iraq). I served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War from 1966-1970. I understood our mission. It was to provide protection for our ground troops in Vietnam. I was stationed at Thailand’s U-Tapao Airfield where I loaded 500 to 700 pound bombs on B-52s. Each B52 could carry 108—or 500 pounds of—bombs. We worked…

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Veteran for Life:
Mike Smietana

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U.S. Air Force 1982 – 2008 Civil Engineer The icing on the cake is my second career with AAFES. I still work with AF and Army installation engineers. Building and renovating AAFES facilities for the future for the best customers in the world! My time is service was pretty awesome: I was an Air Force civil engineer for 26 years and commander three times.  My TDYs have taken me to to Bagram, Balad, Ali Al Salem, Al Jaber and Al Udeid.  I had several Pentagon assignments, which I liked in a weird sort of way.  While the duty and assignments were great, it was the outstanding people I met and worked with that is by far my lasting memory, outstanding…

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Veteran for Life:
Bobby Rushing

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U.S. Marine Corps 1986-1991 Combat Engineer When it gets tough, you just have to push through and keep going. I began my military career in December 1986 as I left for Marine Corps boot camp. I would not forget this experience. In high school, I had been in Marine Corps ROTC, so I had some ideas of what it would be like. Even with the knowledge and experience I had in ROTC, it still was different. When it gets tough, you just have to push through and keep on going. After boot camp, I spent time in Okinawa, Japan. While in Okinawa, I went to South Korea twice on deployment. We built temporary flight lines for helicopters. Camp Pendleton Bridging…

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Veteran for Life:
Carmen Bigas Burdoy

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U.S. Air Force 2010-2016 Security Forces Serving for the Unites States Military was the best decision I have ever made in my life. I am proud to be part of the USA. I had to stay within the community, so as a veteran now, I still serve veterans! Working with the Exchange allows me, and gives me the privilege. I served for the United States Air Force. I served six years as a security forces member. I spent a one-year tour in Korea, where I got to meet the best leadership I have ever had. I worked protecting South Korea from imminent threat from North Korea. I also served at Patrick Air Force Base. Although my time in the military…

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Veteran for Life:
Mark Matthews

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U.S. Army 2004-2011 Public Affairs Specialist/Journalist In 2011, I was assigned to the Exchange HQ and was welcomed with open arms. It was a much different assignment than any that had come before, but no less rewarding. Continuing to serve has been and remains part of who I am. I enlisted in the Army in 2004. I attended basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., and advanced individual training at Fort Meade, Md. My military occupational specialty was a public affairs specialist/journalist. My first duty station was at Fort Drum, N.Y. My wife and I arrived there in October 2004—and within four months I was headed to Iraq for my first deployment. In February 2005, I arrived at Camp Anaconda, Iraq.…

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Veteran for Life:
Orlando Oliver

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U.S. Coast Guard 1981-2011 Contract Specialist My military career was amazing for me; it transformed my life into a magical experience. My military career was amazing for me, transforming my life into a magical experience. The journey started in 1981 stationed in Alaska doing whale patrol, aboard one of our Coast Guard ships saving whales from poachers, moving on to Florida for drug patrol, chasing drug runners in the Caribbean, busting $279 million in uncut cocaine, and rescuing more than 600 hundred Cubans and migrants who had tried to sail into the United States. After doing that for 10 years, I moved on to one of the biggest highlights of the Coast Guard: being station abroad an ice breaker, sailing…

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