2018 Honored Guests

General Frank J Grass, USA (Ret)
Frank J. Grass
USA (Ret)
Brigadier General Christopher Walker, USAF
Brigadier General
Christopher Walker
Major General Arnold Fields, USMC (Ret)
Major General
Arnold Fields
USMC (Ret)
Captain William Bond, USN (Ret)
William Bond
USN (Ret)
Group Captain Willy Hackett MBE MA BSc RAF
Group Captain
Willy Hackett
Colonel Charles DeBellevue, USAF (Ret)
Charles DeBellevue
USAF (Ret)
Lt Colonel Steve Schnell, USAFR (Ret)
Lt Colonel
Steve Schnell
Lt Colonel Rob Brogan, USAF (Ret)
Lt Colonel
Rob Brogan
USAF (Ret)
Colonel Roderick Cox, USA (Ret)
Roderick Cox
USA (Ret)
Colonel Dennis Goldsmith, USMC (Ret)
Dennis Goldsmith
USMC (Ret)
Captain Ron Sharek, USAF
Ron Sharek
Master Sergeant Danny Hopper, USAF
Master Sergeant
Danny Hopper

General Frank J Grass Top of PageGeneral Frank J. Grass, USA (Ret)

General Frank J. Grass, US Army, Ret., 27th Chief, National Guard Bureau And Member Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff. In this capacity, he served as a military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and was the Department of Defense's official channel of communication to the Governors and State Adjutants General on all matters pertaining to the National Guard. He was responsible for ensuring that the more than 470,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel were accessible, capable and ready to protect the homeland and to provide combat resources to the U.S. Army and U.S Air Force.

Brigadier General Christopher Walker Top of PageBrigadier General Christopher Walker, USAF

Brigadier General Christopher Walker, USAF is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Chief of Staff for the West Virginia Air National Guard which has over 2,000 members and consists of two C-130 flying units (one of which is here in support of our Celebration!). He has served as a C-130 navigator throughout the world, leaving active duty in 1997 to join the (ANG) and serve as a C-130H3 evaluator navigator, and has commanded at the squadron and group level. Brigadier General Walker is a Master Navigator with over 5200 hours in WC-130 and C-130E/HH3 aircraft including over 400 combat and combat support hours.

Major General Arnold Fields Top of PageMajor General Arnold Fields, USMC (Ret), Deputy Commander, USMC Forces Europe

Major General Arnold Fields, USMC (Ret), Deputy Commander, USMC Forces Europe. General Fields retired from the USMC with over 34 years of active military service.  At the time of his retirement he was serving as the Deputy Commander of Marine Corps Forces in Europe. During Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, General Fields commanded the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the 6th Marine Regiment in operations against Iraqi Armed Forces. After retirement, he served as a member of the U.S. Department of Reconstruction and Management Office. He then served as the Deputy Director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Department of Defense. He then served as Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction until 2011. He was recently reappointed by the Secretary of the Navy to a second term on the Board of Visitors, Marine Corps University.  He will close the Honored Guests Banquet, as he has for many years, by singing "God Bless America".

Captain William Bond Top of PageCaptain William Bond, USN (Ret)

Captain William (Whiskey) Bond retired as the Commander, Fighter Wing, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, F-14 Tomcats.   He is a graduate of Hickman High School, the University of Missouri and has a Master's Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport, RI.  He received his Navy Wings of Gold in June, 1980.  He was the Squadron Operations Officer for Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM.  As Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations he deployed aboard the USS John F. Kennedy in support of Operations NOBLE EAGLE and ENDURING FREEDOM. He is currently the President and Owner of RenCon Industries, LLC. He will be arriving early to be a speaker in the Living History Program at area schools and service clubs.

Group Captain Willy Hackett Top of PageGroup Captain Willy Hackett MBE MA BSc RAF

Group Captain Willy Hackett joined the Royal Air Force in 1987 and was posted to the Tornado F3 Force, where he flew on operations in Gulf War I and the Balkans. In 1997-98 he was the Tornado F3 demo pilot performing at airshows around Europe. Selected to fly the Sea Harrier F/A2 in 1999 with the Royal Navy, he served with 801 Naval Air Squadron on board HMS Illustrious, seeing service in Iraq and Sierra Leone in Africa. Before leaving his time with the Royal Navy he served with 899 Naval Air Squadron as an instructor pilot. In 2002 he was selected for Test Pilot training at the Empire Test Pilots School at Royal Air Force Boscombe Down where he won the Cobham Trophy as the best pilot on 61 Fixed Wing course. After completion of the course he worked as the Eurofighter Typhoon project test pilot. In 2006 he joined the F35 Integrated Test Force as the UK F35B test pilot at Lockheed Martin Fort Worth in Texas. Group Captain Hackett and his family moved to Washington DC in 2013 where he serves as the lead of the UK Lightning Project Team based in the USA with his wife and two daughters. In 1999 Queen Elizabeth II made him a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his services to aviation.

Colonel Charles DeBellevue Top of PageColonel Charles DeBellevue, USAF (Ret)

Colonel DeBellevue is our Ace of Aces from the Vietnam War.  As a member of the famed "Triple Nickel," the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron, he is credited with downing six North Vietnamese MiGs.   Altogether he logged 550 combat hours while flying 220 combat missions, 96 over North Vietnam.  After 30 years of distinguished service he retired from the Air Force in 1998 as the last American Ace on active duty.   His final assignment was as Commander of the AFROTC Detachment 440 at the University of Missouri - Columbia. His decorations include the Air Force Cross, three Silver Stars, three Legions of Merit, and six Distinguished Flying Crosses. In 2012 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and he will be receiving the Congressional Gold Medal.

Lt Colonel Steve Schnell Top of PageLt Colonel Steve Schnell, USAFR (Ret)

Lt. Colonel Schnell is currently flying for American Airlines. He has over 5000 flying hours in the C-141 Starlifter, C-5 Galaxy, and his most recent airlifter, the C-17 Globemaster III. He served full time for the Air Force Reserve as their Chief of Current Operations -orchestrating over 5500 hours of flying annually in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He has been involved in nearly every US contingency since 1992. He is most proud of his units (445th Airlift Wing) flying 17000 wounded out of Balad, Iraq, from 2003-2005, without the loss of a single life. Lt Col also has the distinction of being the last C-141 Pilot.

Lt Col Rob Brogan Top of PageLt Col Rob Brogan, USAF (Ret)

Lt Col Brogan grew up in Wisconsin and graduated in 1993 from the United States Air Force Academy. As a cadet, he was a member of the Wings of Blue Parachute Team. On active duty, Col Brogan flew the A-10 Warthog for over 8 years, including 2 years as the A-10 West Coast Demonstration Pilot. He left active duty in 2006 and retired from the Air Force Reserves in 2013. Rob currently resides in Parker, Colorado and is a captain for Southwest Airlines.

Colonel Roderick Cox Top of PageColonel Roderick Cox, USA (Ret)

Roderick M. Cox served as an Officer in the United States Army for over 32 years as an Artilleryman, Foreign Area Officer, Professor, and Historian. His service included numerous Joint and Combined operations both in the United States and overseas to include combat, peacekeeping, humanitarian, and diplomatic duties including Director of the US Army Combat Studies Institute, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Professor of Military Studies and Chair of the Department of Leadership & Strategy at the US Air Force Air War College. Colonel Cox’s over 40 military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the NATO Medal, the Army Superior Unit Award, and the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.

Colonel Dennis Goldsmith Top of PageColonel Dennis Goldsmith, USMC (Ret)

Colonel Goldsmith joined the USMC in 1974. His long career includes service with the 24th Marine Regiment when he deployed to Southwest Asia for OPERATION DESERT SHIELD & DESERT STORM. In 2002 he mobilized in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, retiring in 2006 while at Richards-Gebaur AFB.

Captain Ron Sharek Top of PageCaptain Ron Sharek, USAF

Captain Sharek served for 8 years in the USAF and flew 233 missions in Vietnam. After growing up in Kansas City Ks, Ron Sharek attended Parks College of St Louis University. There he received his degree in Aeronautical Engineering and his commission through the Air Force ROTC program. He received his pilot training at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls TX and upon flight school graduation, he went to transition training in the F-100 at Luke, AFB outside Phoenix AZ. After training in the F-100, he was assigned to the 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at Phan Rang Air Base in the Republic of South Vietnam. While at Phan Rang, he flew 233 combat missions in the F-100 and during his year tour he was awarded the Air Medal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster and the Silver Star. After Vietnam, he served as an instructor pilot, flight commander and flight examiner back at Sheppard AFB. His final assignment was with Headquarters Air Training Command Standardization and Evaluation team where he was awarded the Commendation Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. Ron now resides in St Louis Mo.

Master Sergeant Danny Hopper Top of PageMaster Sergeant Danny Hopper, USAF

Master Sergeant Hopper is an Enlisted Accessions (EA) Flight Chief in Lafayette, IN for the 338th Recruiting Squadron, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. He is responsible for recruiting, processing, and enlistment of young men and women into the United States Air Force. Sergeant Hopper meets all assigned recruiting goals through effectively leading, training, and motivating 6 Air Force recruiters and a civilian in an 11K square mile area. In addition, Sergeant Hopper works directly with businesses, schools, and community leaders daily in support of publicity and community relations programs.


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