Delta veterans and other employees filled one of the airline’s hangars to honor those who have served, celebrating them with a memorabilia wall, drill team performance and an array of active and historic aircraft.
The 11th Annual Veterans Appreciation Event was held Nov. 4 ahead of Veterans Day and in recognition of National Veterans and Military Families Month. The UNG Blue Ridge Rifles drill team dazzled attendees against a backdrop of aircraft including a Chinook helicopter, C-17 Globemaster, UH-1Y Venom, AH-1Z Viper, UH60, F-16s, A-10s and a pair of F-15C Eagles.
Several of the aircraft were flown in by Delta pilots who serve in the military Reserve or Guard. In preparation for the event, Delta leaders Don Mitacek, S.V.P. Delta TechOps and President, Delta Technical Services Group (DTSG), and Jerry Allen, V.P. Line Operations Maintenance, accompanied pilots on their journey to the TechOps hangar in a P51D and Canadair T-33.
While the aircraft were an attraction, Delta’s veterans themselves were the main event.
“So much of the leadership and servant heart that we have within our company comes from our military. Their selflessness, sacrifice, commitment, passion and value-based leadership makes such a difference for all of us at Delta,” said CEO Ed Bastian. “To our veterans – we are humbled to be in the position to serve and celebrate you. Words are not adequate to express our appreciation for all you have done for our country, our community and our world.”
With veterans making up nearly 11% of Delta’s 80,000 employees, Forbes recently named Delta one of the top employers for military veterans, based on ratings from veterans on companies’ working conditions, approach to diversity and inclusion and veteran-friendly workplace environments.
“I am proud to work for a company that makes honoring veterans such a priority,” said Army veteran Jacqueline Cross, Emergency Response Coordinator. “Delta gives soldiers something to carry on into the future, and with over 10,000 veterans here at Delta, we are fully vested.”
Army veteran David Boyer, Talent Acquisition Delivery Manager, agreed the event is a significant show of support to the veteran community.
“Our military veteran recruitment team is comprised of military veterans themselves so, for us, it’s personal,” he said. “Since we’ve been there recently, we can help guide veterans transitioning out of the military and put them on the proper pathway to meaningful employment at Delta.”
Delta is committed to building a robust military talent pipeline through partnerships with organizations such as FourBlock and military.com to help veterans transition to civilian careers. In alignment with the airline's skills-first approach to hiring, Delta recently launched a Military Skills Translator tool, which allows veteran job seekers to understand how their military skills, experience and training translates to open jobs at Delta.
“In our Veterans Business Resource Group, we are working closely with the talent acquisition team to get more veterans at Delta,” said Kurt Robinson, President of the Veterans BRG. “I encourage all Delta people to not just take one day to celebrate our veterans – we need to celebrate them 365 days a year. Take the time to thank them for their service and listen to their stories.”
The event also recognized three World War II veterans who were among the 29 to board Delta's recent charter flight to Normandy, France, in partnership with Best Defense Foundation and with support from Michelin, for the 78th anniversary of D-Day. In addition to Delta providing funding and resources for the trip, Delta veterans accompanied these World War II veterans on a nine day, once-in-a lifetime experience that was captured on film and is available to view on the Best Defense Foundation YouTube Channel or Delta in-flight entertainment throughout the month of November.
“Being from Normandy, my grandparents were liberated by the three World War II veterans who are here today,” said Virginie Durr, Normandy native and Manager – Enterprise Sales. “We are connecting the world by bringing them to our home to honor them for what they did in my home.”
DELTA'S COMMITMENT TO VETERANS
While the two-day Veterans Appreciation Day event is a moment to commemorate the annual holiday, Delta’s commitment to those who have served in the military happens every day of the year.
Toys for Tots
- Delta employees across the nation volunteer their time and donations in support of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, with Delta TechOps donating a record amount of 1,250 bicycles and helmets in 2021. As the official airline partner, Delta provides annual financial support to Toys for Tots and its national literacy program to purchase books for kids each year.
Support for Wounded Veterans
- Each November, in addition to year-long support, Delta matches customer-donated miles to Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles Program and Luke’s Wings through the Delta SkyWish Program. The miles provide air travel to wounded, injured or ill service members, veterans and their families. More than 90 million miles have been donated since the program began in 2014.
- In November 2021, Delta’s CEO accepted the Patriot of the Year award from the USO on behalf of Delta and its people. Delta supports 13 USO chapters through sponsorship and volunteer work including assembling care packages, serving hot meals, distributing luggage tags and spending time with service members. Delta also supports the MI Freedom Center in Detroit, the Armed Forces Service Centers in Minneapolis and Miami, as well as Fleet Week in New York and Los Angeles.
Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation
- Delta is a proud supporter of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation by providing funding to several of the foundation’s initiatives, such as the Character Development Program, and offering our highest SkyMiles status, Diamond Medallion®, to Medal of Honor recipients. As the Presenting Sponsor of the Online Portal for Teacher-Student Engagement and Recipient Outreach to schools, Delta supports programs that encourage children and teens to embody the Medal of Honor values, including courage, integrity and sacrifice.
- Delta supports Camp Southern Ground by providing funding for the Warrior Week and Warrior PATHH programs which serve post-9/11 veterans struggling with life after military service.
- In addition to Delta’s annual financial support, Delta employees in the Fuel Division host a golf tournament each year to contribute to the Folds of Honor educational scholarship for children and spouses of fallen and disabled service members.
- Throughout the year, supporters of the military at Delta dedicate their time to ensure a reverent and honorable return home for fallen soldiers carried on Delta planes. The Delta Honor Guard is on standby at hubs across the country to make sure every fallen service member makes it to their final rest with care and honor.
To learn more about how Delta supports veterans throughout the year, please see the Veterans and the Military page on Delta News Hub.