Troy University along with Friends of Army Aviation, military personnel and the wiregrass community joined forces Saturday to honor our nation’s service members during the second annual Armed Forces Day.
Officials from TROY and FOAA opened the event on Saturday morning, followed by a day of taking visitors inside the historic UH-H1 Huey along with other attractions such as FOAA’s Traveling Aviation Museum, a kids’ zone, food vendors and more. A member of the Round Canopy Parachute Team also performed a jump.
“Being free is not free. The freedom we have is dictated by many of you who have served and are now serving,” said Dothan Campus Vice Chancellor Dr. Don Jeffrey, an Army National Guard veteran. “We honor this partnership with Friends of Army Aviation and are proud of the commitment of our community.”
Former Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz, civilian advisor to the Secretary of the Army since May 2020, delivered the keynote address and stressed the importance of supporting the military.
“We are so proud that Troy University and Friends of Army Aviation have decided to honor the people who are risking their lives for us today,” he said. “We must support our army and all our military branches. The wiregrass needs to be a beacon for the military – we need to serve our men and women, and do it consciously.”
In his role as a civilian assistant, Schmitz had the opportunity to be part of the Fort Rucker Naming Commission, helped facilitate a partnership with the Army and Mercedes Benz of Tuscaloosa to hire as many military personnel and veterans as possible, and is working on a Cyber -Bring Academy to Wiregrass.
“The Army has incredible technology, and they’re willing to share it with our students — homeschool, private school or public school,” he said.
FOAA President LTC (ret.) John “Doc” Holladay, a Vietnam veteran with 11,500 flight hours, including 5,100 in active combat, reminded attendees of the real reason for the event.
“Today is about the active-duty soldiers, those who risk their lives for our freedoms for this country,” he said. “We should never forget that.”