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Bulloch Veterans Day program set for Monday

    Since Nov. 11, 1918, when World War I ended across the Western Front in Europe on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Americans everywhere have stopped to honor the brave men and women who have stepped to the front in battle so that they could live free. This is not a day to celebrate war, but to celebrate peace – and remember those who fought for it.
    Once again this year, Statesboro will honor the men and women who fought so bravely and gave of themselves to protect Americans during WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq and all the other conflicts in the 20th century, including the peacekeeping times. This is also a time to remember our men and women who are missing in action and/or prisoners of war.
    This year, Nov. 11 falls on a Sunday and many will celebrate within their own churches on that particular day; however, in the tradition begun by the late Kemp Mabry, the Statesboro American Legion will present a community observance at the Emma Kelly Theater in downtown Statesboro on Monday, Nov. 12.  The program will follow the same format set forth by Dr. Mabry, with music provided by Tom Alderman and the Eastern Heights Baptist Choir beginning at 10:30 a.m. The actual service will begin promptly at 11 a.m. following tradition.
    The public is invited to attend this annual service at the Emma Kelly Theater. Admission is free. Call (912) 212-2787 for more information.
    The keynote speaker will be Capt. Stacy K. Hayes, United States Marine Corps.
Capt. Hayes is the daughter of Jimmy and Connie  Hayes from Stilson in Bulloch County.  
    She graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology where she studied foreign diplomacy and national security and earned a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs which led her to service in our nation’s Marine Corps. Hayes was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the USMC in 1997.  Following basic officer training in Quantico, Va., she was assigned as a student naval aviator at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., where she was later promoted to First Lieutenant.  
    Hayes earned her wings of gold and became a CH-46E medium lift helicopter pilot in March 2000. In October 2000, she was assigned to the Fleet Marine Force, joining HMM-365, the Blue Knights, becoming the first female to join the unit. HMM-365 sailed as part of Marine Expeditionary Unit 26 in September 2001, taking part in the first conventional land forces in Afghanistan. Hayes was promoted to the rank of captain in September 2001, as well and earned two air/strike medals for flying combat missions in Afghanistan and Pakistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.      
    Following that deployment, Capt. Hayes held a shore duty as the air operations officer for a Marine Auxiliary Landing Field in North Carolina. Continuing to fly and train until her next assignment as the Marine Aircraft Group 42 assistant operations officer at Naval Air Station Atlanta, she served as the active duty pilot and captain for MAG-42 and volunteered to deploy with HMM-774 out of Norfolk, Va., to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in August 2004. She earned three additional strike/flight medals as part of her service in Iraq.  
    Capt. Hayes separated from the active duty forces in May 2006, at the end of her obligated service, having served nine years in the Marine Corps. Today, she is serving in the Marine Corps Reserves as a maintenance officer and CH-46E pilot for HMM-774. She is the first female to serve as a pilot in the Marine Corps Reserves.  

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