Thanksgiving Mission

I'd like to share a note that went out from one of our aircraft owners about a Thanksgiving mission that was flown on a few hours notice to get some injured soldiers home for Thanksgiving. These guys just returned stateside from a nine month long tour in Afghanistan and had not yet had a chance to see their families. A big thank you goes out not only to Nick, but to everyone who helped us get soldiers home for Thanksgiving this year.

As a group we have so very much to be thankful for this year. I am thankful that I have as friends, family and co-workers such a wonderful group of talented and caring people. I would hope that as we enjoy the holiday, the great food, our families and friends this Thanksgiving that we take a minute or more to be thankful for and think about those who protect our freedoms- who daily put it all on the line for us, this great country and our way of life. Today as on past occasions – we as a group all contributed to an expression of gratitude to some of those who have so selflessly put themselves in Harms Way. Thanks to Walt Fricke and Veterans Airlift Command- we were honored to have as our guest on the company plane three wounded warriors who were trying to get home for the holiday after an extended tour of duty and months in the hospital recovering from the injuries they received in the line of duty. A special thanks to Karen Keaton for making it happen by working with local airports in Vermont and Massachusetts to keep them open after their normal hours so our crew Dave and Rich could get them home for the holiday. As I have so often heard a photo speaks a thousand words. In the rear of the aircraft is Bill Fitzgerald, who was kind enough to share the photo, and who said “thanks for sharing this wonderful event” Bill rode home with them today, they shared their stories with him. Thank you all for being a part of the sage-popovich family.

Happy Thanksgiving. Nick and Pat

Letter to Signature Palm Beach FBO from VAC Volunteer


Thank you so much for all you and your crew did to make our Veterans Airlift flight to your FBO a success. Everyone went out of their way to help not only through multiple discounts and fee waivers but most importantly by the hospitality the Signature Palm Beach staff helped in making sure our Hero Soldier had the red carpet treatment that he and his family deserves. You went over and above and for that we greatly thank you.

I wanted to take a moment and give you a little background on what this mission was about. Marine Sergeant Carlos Evans has been deployed four times. Three times to Iraq, and once to Afghanistan. On May 16th while on foot patrol in Afghanistan, he stepped on an IED and lost both legs and his left hand. He has been in the hospital at Walter Reed for the last 5 months, and anticipates he will be in the hospital for at least another year.

Sergeant Evans and his wife both celebrate their birthdays on the same day, and he had clearance to get away for a few days to celebrate outside of a hospital environment (we all know that this is the better way to heal). They were in Fayetteville (it will be their new home once he is out of the hospital), and they wanted to get away to Florida before he goes back to Walter Reed to continue rehabilitation.

Again our hats off to you and your staff for helping make this mission such a success.

Please see the attached pictures taken at Signature Palm Beach FBO.


Dan Rogers
Duotech Services Inc

Veterans Airlift Command Joins CAF’s Red, White & Loud Tour

MIDLAND, TEXAS (Aug. 23, 2010) –On Mon., Aug. 23, 2010, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) announced a new alliance that will help bring attention to the VAC cause, transporting wounded U.S. service members and their families. The recently announced CAF Red, White & Loud Tour starring Aaron Tippin and the CAF’s B-29 FIFI will be an opportunity for the VAC’s mission to be shared with audiences across the country.

“We will be using our veteran airplanes to raise awareness of the Veterans Airlift Command mission, joining the past with the present,” said CAF President/CEO Stephan Brown. “We are honored to be part of VAC’s noble cause to support the wounded U.S. service men and women. The CAF’s Red, White and Loud Tour will lend its voice to tell the story of VAC, helping to recruit new pilots and support across the country.”

"While providing free air transportation to our wounded warriors is our primary mission, we are thrilled to associate with the CAF in order to expand awareness to the aviation and military communities,” said Founder/CEO and Air Boss of VAC, Walter L. Fricke. “Our mission succeeds because of the generous financial support of Patriotic Americans and the "in-kind" support of our volunteer pilots and aircraft owners. The CAF’s Red White and Loud Tour brings this all together to the right audience with a proud historical perspective. This alliance will connect patriots from the past to those of the present in a wholly unique, effective and compelling way."

The first stop of the CAF’s Red, White & Loud Tour will be in Denver, Colo. at the Colorado Sport International Air Show and Rocky Mountain Regional Fly-In, Sat., Aug. 28, 2010. This stop will feature the CAF’s B-24A Liberator Ol’ 927 along with CAF National Spokesman Aaron Tippin. During the concert, Tippin will talk about the VAC’s mission and introduce U.S. service member families who received transportation through VAC.

At each future stop of the CAF’s Red, White & Loud Tour, Aaron Tippin will introduce audiences to the mission of VAC and encourage them to donate. Pilots and individuals with private aircraft will be encouraged to join the cause by volunteering their time and resources to transport Wounded Warriors and their families.

Sponsors of the Red, White & Loud Tour will be supporting not only the tour and the Commemorative Air Force, but also the Veterans Airlift Command. The VAC will receive a portion of sponsorship funds in an effort to increase the organizations reach and capabilities.

About the VAC:

The Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) provides free air transportation to wounded warriors, veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.

Imagine a U.S. service member returning home from combat, facing devastating injuries and long term hospitalization in a facility hundreds of miles away from his or her family. VAC is an organization that brings wounded warriors and their families together in times such as these.

VAC’s priority is on the veterans of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). For more information, visit or call (952) 582-2911.

About the CAF’s Red, White & Loud Tour starring Aaron Tippin & the CAF’s B-29 FIFI:
The Commemorative Air Force and country music star/patriot Aaron Tippin have launched the CAF’s Red, White & Loud Tour celebrating America’s freedom through song and the roaring radial engines of one of the world’s most famous warbirds. At each tour stop, one of the CAF’s famous warbirds will arrive with Aaron Tippin aboard. Once qualified, Aaron will begin co-piloting the aircraft to future stops. Audiences of the CAF’s Red, White & Loud Tour will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Aaron perform such songs as Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagles Fly and You’ve Got to Stand For Something in front of one of America's national treasures, a historic warbird! For more information, visit or call (432) 563-1000.

About the CAF:
Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 8,000 members and a fleet of 156 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 74 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, visit or call (432) 563-1000.

Veterans Airlift Command Takes to the Road

I spent the better part of the last 30 days visiting military installations/hospitals all over the US East of the Rockies… In a Prevost motor home on loan to the VAC Foundation by VAC volunteers Bruce and Rosemary Rose (who, incidentally just flew a gang of wounded warriors to Boston from Walter Reed for the Boston Marathon for the second year running. Pun intended). It was a road trip of great value to the VAC. The wounded warrior units and family assistance centers as well as wounded warriors themselves heard directly about our work. Mission requests have spiked as a result.

A stop at Ft. Riley, KS with volunteer pilot Scott Hallock garnered us an “on the spot” mission (forever cementing our value in the minds of the Family Assistance folks at Ft. Riley) to deliver a combat stressed soldier home to the funeral of his best friend who had just been killed in Afghanistan. Having just dismounted from the first leg of my motor home tour from MN to Ft. Riley, I flew back to MN the following day with Scott to deliver our passenger home in time for the funeral. Two hours from mission request, we were airborne. Nice work, Scott! I hope we were able to manage expectations about future missions. We don’t always have a pilot with an available aircraft in the room when a travel need surfaces, but we are getting closer.

Then on to Ft. Carson, Ft. Hood, and Brook Army Medical Center at Ft. Sam Houston. Great connections all around. At Ft. Sam I had the privilege of having dinner with a Special Ops Marine (MARSOC operator of the year) that we had just flown (he and his family) to Bethesda to be at the bedside for the passing of his best friend who was mortally wounded the week before. This Marine was a real inspiration. We were invited, as a result , to visit the SOCOM (Special Operations Command) HQ in Tampa (MacDill AFB) to brief them on our operation and receive a briefing on their Care Coalition. They take care of their wounded in a unique and honorable fashion. We have since been tasked with a number of missions for SOCOM unit members (all special ops types), and have executed with flying colors… expect that we might become their “air arm”…

From MacDill, we stopped at Ft. Stewart and then Ft. Bragg where we connected well on several fronts. Immediate mission requests followed the visits, and quick execution again bolstered our reputation. Then on to Walter Reed where we were treated as VIP’s and given an in depth tour of the MATC rehab center.

6000 miles of windshield time gives one time to reflect on what a great nation we live in. One worth preserving. If you have read this far, I am going to ask you to set aside 15 minutes to watch a very powerful video. While it features the VAC in part, the real story centers around one of our passengers. It will inspire you and give you hope for the future of America. Titled “A Tale of Two Americas," I urge you to watch it and help make it viral…even our children should see this.

God Bless America!


VAC Flies Wounded Heroes to Mammoth Mountain

Veterans Airlift Command volunteers flew 15 wounded heroes and a service dog to Mammoth Mountain for a week of winter sports with Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra. The following video is courtesy of Denise Winston.