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Honoring those who built our heritage – Team Buckley hosts Retiree Appreciation Day

Ivan Taylor, far left, performs the singing of the National Anthem during the official portion of the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.

Ivan Taylor, far left, performs the singing of the National Anthem during the official portion of the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. RAD commenced with the opening ceremony where guests had the opportunity to witness ceremonial traditions, including the display of the POW/MIA table and the playing of the services medley. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Master Sgt. Leah Calahan, far right, 460th Space Wing law office superintendent, speaks to attendees about legal services available to retirees during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.

Master Sgt. Leah Calahan, far right, 460th Space Wing law office superintendent, speaks to attendees about legal services available to retirees during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. In addition to representatives from the legal office, over 30 various support agencies were available to provide an in-depth explanation on services they can provide. The hope is for retirees in the local community to feel welcomed and content with reaching out to Team Buckley for any information they may need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Representative for Colorado's 6th congressional district, shares his history of service then addresses concerns from the audience during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.

Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Representative for Colorado's 6th congressional district, shares his history of service then addresses concerns from the audience during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. Coffman spoke on the significance of ensuring members who served their nation are receiving the support and services they need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Retired Master Sgt. Don Benton, former Air Force Band French horn player, poses for a photo during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.

Retired Master Sgt. Don Benton, former Air Force Band French horn player, poses for a photo during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. Benton initially served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War before transferring to the Air Force. He said the military brought him many opportunities to travel overseas and stateside, and he was thankful for the ability to do what he loved. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Col. Shannon Phares, 460th Medical Group commander, speaks to an attendee of the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.

Col. Shannon Phares, 460th Medical Group commander, speaks to an attendee of the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. Over 30 various support agencies were available to provide an in-depth explanation on services they can provide. The hope is for retirees in the local community to feel welcomed and content with reaching out to Team Buckley for any information they may need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Chief Master Sgt. Tamar Dennis, 460th Space Wing command chief, speaks to attendees during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.

Chief Master Sgt. Tamar Dennis, 460th Space Wing command chief, speaks to attendees during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. This expo is open to all branches of military service and features various support agencies to enable retirees to learn more on what benefits are available. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Representative for Colorado's 6th congressional district, shares his history of service then addresses concerns from the audience during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.

Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Representative for Colorado's 6th congressional district, shares his history of service then addresses concerns from the audience during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. Coffman spoke on the significance of ensuring members who served their nation are receiving the support and services they need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Col. Shannon Phares, far left, 460th Medical Group commander, speaks to attendees of the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.

Col. Shannon Phares, far left, 460th Medical Group commander, speaks to attendees of the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. The event was organized by the Retiree Activities Office, which serves as a resource for retirees, spouses and widows, and provides assistance related to their entitlements and benefits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Chief Master Sgt. Tamar Dennis, 460th Space Wing command chief, acknowledges the responsibility of today’s force to continue to pave the way  made by generations past during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.

Chief Master Sgt. Tamar Dennis, 460th Space Wing command chief, acknowledges the responsibility of today’s force to continue to pave the way made by generations past during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. This expo is open to all branches of military service and features various support agencies to enable retirees to learn more on what benefits are available. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Ceremonial guardsmen with the Mile High Honor Guard perform a colors detail prior to the start of the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.
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Ceremonial guardsmen with the Mile High Honor Guard perform a colors detail prior to the start of the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. The event was organized by the Retiree Activities Office, which serves as a resource for retirees, spouses and widows, and provides assistance related to their entitlements and benefits. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Col. Troy L. Endicott, 460th Space Wing commander, highlights the importance of remembering the heritage of the military and honoring those who served their nation during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.
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Col. Troy L. Endicott, 460th Space Wing commander, highlights the importance of remembering the heritage of the military and honoring those who served their nation during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. The intent of the event was to celebrate the service of retirees and further keep lines of communication open with the retiree community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Representative for Colorado's 6th congressional district, shares his history of service then addresses concerns from the audience during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018.
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Congressman Mike Coffman, U.S. Representative for Colorado's 6th congressional district, shares his history of service then addresses concerns from the audience during the Retiree Appreciation Day event at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, Aug. 25, 2018. Coffman spoke on the significance of ensuring members who served their nation are receiving the support and services they need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jazmin Smith)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado --

The strength of our nation’s defense didn’t appear overnight. The blood, sweat and even the lives of those who decided to serve their country in generations past built the foundation for the force we have today.

As these proud men and women have approached retirement, their legacy lives on.

The nation now comprises a new group of Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers proud to carry on the ever-evolving mission. To celebrate and show their appreciation, Team Buckley hosted Retiree Appreciation Day on August 25, 2018, at the Leadership Development Center on Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. 

Buckley AFB is honored to have over 22,000 retirees in their area of responsibility. Although this is one day of the year, the hope is for those who have retired with honor to have left the event well-informed. Nearly 700 retirees and/or their dependents were able to attend.

The event was a huge success, said retired Lt. Col. Steven Young, Retiree Activities Office director. This year marked the most attendees since 2008. With that being said, the RAO will look into a larger venue to accommodate all the guests for future events.

RAD commenced with the opening ceremony where guests had the opportunity to witness ceremonial traditions, including the display of the POW/MIA table and the playing of the services medley. Attendees were also able to hear from a distinguished guest speaker and 460th Space Wing leadership.

“We owe you a debt of gratitude for your service,” remarked Col. Troy L. Endicott, the 460th SW commander. “The freedom we enjoy, the American way of life is not free. It is up to every generation to preserve democracy. You all did your part, and you did it well.”

Following his remarks, Endicott introduced Congressman Mike Coffman as the guest speaker.

Coffman shared the importance of treating those who served with the respect they deserve, while ensuring they receive the benefits they’re entitled to. He later added, as long as we have young people willing to serve, the nation is in good hands.

The official ceremony tapered to a close with remarks from Chief Master Sgt. Tamar Dennis, 460th SW command chief, who emphasized to the veterans that today’s generation of Airmen will continue to pave the way and carry their legacy forward.

Following the official ceremony, attendees were invited to explore various tables set up with information from approximately 35 organizations and consult with specialists directly. The Military Personnel Service was also open to process ID cards for eligible retirees.  By providing these contacts, the hope is that Team Buckley can further keep lines of communication open with the retiree community.

The event was organized by the Retiree Activities Office. The RAO serves as a resource for retirees, spouses, and widows and provides assistance related to their entitlements and benefits. Once a year, the program also aims to coordinate RAD. This expo is open to all branches of military service and features various support agencies to enable retirees to learn more on what benefits are available.

For more information, please contact the RAO at 720-847-6693 or email them at 460SW.RAO.ORG@US.AF.MIL.