Tag Archives: Veterans

SkyWest pilot with D-Day veteran

SkyWest Salutes D-Day Veteran on 75th Anniversary

SkyWest is honored to have been part of one veteran’s special journey back to Normandy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Mr. Joseph Morettini, a U.S. Army veteran, was travelling to France this month for the international commemoration. These memorials and remembrances hold a special place in Mr. Morettini’s heart, as he served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He is one of the few living survivors who stormed the beaches of Normandy and served in the Battle of the Bulge.

A resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, Mr. Morettini flew out of Erie International Airport on a SkyWest Airlines flight to begin his journey to France. Tawyna Rexford, SkyWest Airlines Station Manager, described the airline’s role in ensuring Mr. Morettini received special treatment on his journey.

“Our team was able to organize a local American Legion Color Guard, high school JROTC procession, local business veterans group, local fire and police departments, and members of our city council and elected state officials to make an appearance in the surprise send-off,” said Rexford.

The surprise ceremony was heightened, as SkyWest worked to ensure Mr. Morettini’s entire family would be able to witness the celebration honoring their beloved relative.

“We worked behind the scenes to get Mr. Morettini’s whole family here to complete the surprise. Mr. Morettini has made many appearances over the years at all sorts of events across the country. His son has accompanied him to most of the events. In a speech given to the assembled crowd, Mr. Morettini’s son shared that this trip will be the most memorable for both of them, because this is the only event that they have been able to experience as an entire family,” said Rexford.

SkyWest Captain Taylor Spangler, accompanied by First Officer Mark Geyer and Flight Attendant Meghan Decker, presented an American flag to Mr. Morettini on behalf of SkyWest Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Rexford summarized the day’s events and recognition: “Our people have hearts of gold and unmatched passion for what they do. I am so proud that they exemplify the best qualities of what SkyWest’s Guiding Principles are all about.”

A heartfelt thank you to Mr. Morettini and to all those who have sacrificed for our freedoms.

Honoring a WWII Hero

Layne Watson

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Corporate Communications Manager

Doolittle_RaiderNearly 75 years after the historic Doolittle Raider mission as part of WWII, SkyWest was honored to fly the last surviving member of the Doolittle Raiders, Lieutenant Colonel Dick Cole (age – 101), to attend the funeral service of a fellow Doolittle Raider. With a World War II hero on their flight, the SkyWest crew (CA Mike Spencer, FO Jeff Blaylock and FA Hayley Neves) ensured Lt. Col. Cole received the hero’s welcome he deserved.

“The entire crew went above and beyond to make this a special day for Lt. Col. Cole,” said Tracy Gallo – VP of Flight Ops. “That he was going to bury the last remaining member of his squad made the service even more meaningful.”

Left to Right, Front Row: Lt. Col. D.H. Doolittle; Lt. R.E. Cole. Back row: Lt. H.A. Potter; SSgt. F.A. Braemer; SSgt. P.J. Leonard

Lt. Col. Cole was part of one of  the most famous missions in U.S. military history when, on April 18, 1942,  he and 79 other brave members of the U.S. Air Force set out aboard 16 B-25B Mitchell medium bombers as part of  the United States’ response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Their mission, to bomb Japanese forces in Tokyo, was highly dangerous as their bombers were unable to land on the aircraft carrier they took off from.

Led by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle, 15 of the bombers landed in China after carrying out there mission, where eight crewmembers were captured by Japanese soldiers. The other bomber landed in the Soviet Union, where the crew was interned for more than a year before being returned to the U.S. In total, the Doolittle Raiders lost 11 men on their mission. The remaining 69 heroes returned home to the U.S. With the passing of his friend, Lt. Col. Cole is the last living Doolittle Raider.

Doolittle RaidUpon learning that he would captain the flight carrying this special passenger, Captain Spencer made a quick trip to the local grocery store to pick up nine dozen donuts. The crew then met Lt. Col. Cole in the boarding area and escorted him to the aircraft and arranged for him to sit in row one. After boarding was complete, the donuts were passed out to passengers as Captain Spencer read the story of the Doolittle Raiders over the intercom. The cabin was quick to give Lt. Col. Cole a huge round of applause.

Lt. Col. Cole continued to receive the VIP treatment throughout the duration of his flight to MSO, where he was again escorted by the crew. As we celebrate the birth of the United States this Independence Day weekend, a special thanks to Lt. Col. Cole and all those who have served and continue to preserve our freedoms. At SkyWest, we proudly support more than 1,000 active or retired military members across our operation.

Our crew Mike, Jeff and Hayley are another great example of SkyWest’s unique culture where 11,600+ employees are continually going out of their way to make a difference for their passengers. To learn more about working at SkyWest, visit www.skywest.com/careers .

Read more stories about SkyWest People Making a Difference!