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Pausing to pay tribute: Delta’s TechOps team hosts 12th annual Veterans Celebration

Delta's TechOps team and Veterans Business Resource Group came together once again for a two-day celebration to honor U.S. military veterans. Delta’s work to support veterans and their families dates back decades and currently includes a number of efforts.
Nov. 9, 2023, 3 p.m.

Delta’s TechOps team and Veterans Business Resource Group honored U.S. military veterans in true Delta fashion with this year’s 12th annual Veterans Celebration.  

More than 200 onlookers marveled up-close at planes on display – including the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-18 Hornet, A-10 Warthog, C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster, V-22 Osprey, T-45 Goshawk, and T-38 Talon. Together, they celebrated Delta’s 11,000-plus veterans and other esteemed guests including seven World War II veterans (some now more than 100 years old). 

A kid enjoys one of many plane displays at Delta's 12th annual Veterans Celebration.

The two-day celebration is a signature event for Delta’s Veterans BRG, but their work to recruit and support veterans happens year-round.  

“Today, we have an amazing team to recruit veterans,” said Kurt Robinson, Veterans BRG president. “Our military recruitment team hits the bases and community hiring events, inviting veterans to come to Delta, and then once they are here, we help them and their families transition as they become part of the Delta family.” 

Tom Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion, shakes hands with a U.S. military veteran at Delta's 12th annual Veterans Celebration.

TechOps president and E.V.P. John Laughter; Delta Chief Operating Officer Mike Spanos, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran; and seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady attended the event to thank our veterans. Also in attendance was Donnie Edwards, a founder of the Best Defense Foundation, Delta’s partner in honoring World War II veterans with charter flights back to Normandy in honor of the anniversary of D-Day. 

The historic journey began on May 31 in Delta’s hometown of Atlanta, with a parade through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s international terminal. More than 40 veterans returned this year, up from 29 in 2022.

Dozens of Delta people proudly contributed shadow boxes commemorating the service of a Delta veteran or a Delta employee’s veteran family member. Each box contained a curated collection of personal items – patches, medals, flags and mementos – proudly arranged to honor their service and to invite conversations with passers-by. 

Offering his thoughts at the event, Delta CEO Ed Bastian mused: “It looks like a military museum in here!” He thanked all veterans present for their “sacrifice, service and selflessness, as our world continues to be a complicated place. Everything we at Delta can do to give honor and thanks, we’re all in.” 

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard shakes hands with Daniel Keel, a U.S. Air Force veteran and Tuskegee Airman, at Delta's 12th annual Veterans Celebration.

Bastian added: “We run the very best technical operations business in the world. The fact that this team takes time to make a difference like this, to pause and pay tribute, makes us even better, as we thank veterans for their great service to our company -- but more importantly, to our country.” 

Robinson urged attendees to remember that “365 days a year, we can do good things for veterans. And sometimes, it’s the little things. To honor their service, yes, thank a veteran, but then stop and listen. It’s our responsibility.”  

Delta and Veterans 365 

A Delta TechOps employee shakes hands with a U.S. military veteran at Delta's 12th annual Veterans Celebration.

Delta’s work to support veterans and their families dates back decades and currently includes a number of efforts: 

  • In 2023, Delta onboarded several new partners to help facilitate hiring veterans across the enterprise, including Military MOJO, Service Academy Career Conference, Value of a Veteran, and MBA Veterans Network. By the end of Q3, the company had hired 1,280 veterans. 

  • Delta is committed to building a robust military talent pipeline through partnerships with organizations such as FourBlock and to help veterans transition to civilian careers. The airline’s Military Skills Translator tool helps veteran job seekers understand how their military skills, experience and training translates to roles at Delta.  

  • The Delta Honor Guard is on standby at hubs across the country to make sure those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country make it to their final resting place with care and honor. 

  • Since 2015, Delta has served as a principal funder of four Fisher House Foundation facilities, where families of military personnel can stay at no cost while their loved ones receive treatment.  

  • For the ninth year, Delta will match donations made in November through SkyWish, the charitable arm of the SkyMiles Program.   

  • Delta supports 10 USO chapters through sponsorship and volunteer work, including assembling care packages, serving hot meals, distributing luggage tags and spending time with service members.  

  • Delta supports Folds of Honor in 16 markets across the U.S. In 2022, Delta provided $300,000 in funding for educational scholarships to the children and spouses of fallen and disabled service members. 

  • Delta is a proud supporter of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation by providing funding to several of the foundation's initiatives and offering our highest SkyMiles status, Diamond Medallion®, to Medal of Honor recipients. 

  • 2023 will be Delta’s 19th year helping the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve with Toys for Tots to deliver toys to children in need in December. Delta is the official airline partner for Toys for Tots and contributes more than $700,000 annually to the program.  

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