Air Force ROTC cadets brought holiday cheer today to homeless veterans now living at DeGeorge at Union Station. Houston Public Radio’s Capella Tucker reports it was also an opportunity for cadets and veterans to share stories about the armed services.
A handful of cadets from the University of Houston Air Force ROTC program delivered the holiday message and cake. Col. Phil Bossert greeted the gathering.
“Despite the increasing length of this war, a war that is now 18 months longer than U.S. involvement in World War II, we have much to be thankful for this holiday season, including a secure homeland.”
Bossert says the veterans can be proud of those who are following them.
“This current generation, I think like any young generation is criticized by the older folks like me. But I tell you, in the short time I’ve been involved with Air Force ROTC, I’ve been extremely impressed with our young people. And while most of our students are from the University of Houston, we do have students from Rice University and Texas Southern University. So we have a nice cross section of young people and they are very dedicated and very motivated and they want to get out there and be Air Force officers.”
Bossert adds ROTC is enjoying strong support not only from the public, but from students as well.
“Consider this, since 911, more than 1.6 million young people have freely joined the world’s greatest military including thousands of ROTC cadets. At the University of Houston, the number of cadets in Air Force ROTC has increased 55 percent in just the last five months.”
Army Veteran Ron Woodson notices the difference now compared to the time he served from 1971 to 77.
“I didn’t go to Vietnam, but I was in during the Vietnam conflict and as every one knows that was a very turbulent time on the college campuses, you know demonstrations and every thing. We as veterans were never really honored, like I said, it’s been a long time coming.”
David Miller served four years in the Marine Corps. He’s taking it day by day hoping his part-time job will turn full time next year. Miller says military service will enhance the cadets’ futures.
“Inspirations and learning experience to go and see people from other cultures and other walks of life. It broadens your thinking, keeps you open-minded and respect other people.”
Cadet First Lt. Lee Morgan’s grandparents are both Air Force veterans. He loves hearing the stories and they talk about how the military has changed.
“Much different. From the stories I’ve heard, especially during WWII, now it’s just so much different, the technology, how we fight wars is so much different then they did back then. Every time I see them, they ask how’s the Air Force doing, that’s always the topic of conversation.”
The DeGeorge provides permanent housing for previously homeless veterans. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.