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Top Army general salutes Honor Air founders Miller and Morse


Earl Morse and Jeff Miller laugh as Gen. Mark A. Milley jokes that Morse had served in the U.S. Army Corps, the forerunner of the U.S. Air Force. 
Earl Morse and Jeff Miller laugh as Gen. Mark A. Milley jokes that Morse had served in the U.S. Army Corps, the forerunner of the U.S. Air Force.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, had Earl Morse and Jeff Miller chuckling when he teased that Morse had served in the U.S. Army Air Corps.


Referring to the forerunner of the U.S. Air Force, Milley was having a little fun with the rivalry between the Army and Air Force, which Morse served as 30 years. It was a light moment in an otherwise somber ceremony in which the Chief of Staff honored the cofounders of HonorAir and the Honor Flight Network.
Morse, Miller and two others — Ted Leonsis, the chair and CEO of Monumental Sports and Entertainment, and Jaspen “Jas” Boothe, founder and president of Final Salute Inc. — were honored for outstanding contributions to the U.S. Army in a daylong series of events that included face-to-face time with Gen. Milley, a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery and the awards ceremony and music revue at an Army parade hall in Arlington, Va. Watch the video here.


Miller was a charter member of the World War II Memorial Foundation, which raised money to build the monument, and is the son of a World War II veteran and nephew of a bomber pilot killed in the war. When Miller read about Morse flying World War II veterans to Washington to see the memorial in 2005, he upped the ante, hatching the idea of chartering passenger airliners to take dozens of veterans and guardians at once. Morse and Miller merged their organizations into the Honor Flight Network in 2007.
In World War II, “291,557 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines were killed in action and another 670,846 were wounded in action and countless others were irrevocably changed by their experience with the hidden wounds of war,” Milley said during the ceremony at Comny Hall at Fort Myer outside of Washington, D.C.
“Jeff and Earl recognized that World War II veterans were passing away without having the opportunity to view their nation’s monument to their heroic service, so they took action to right this wrong,” Milley said.
Honor Flight has flown almost 200,000 veterans from 131 hubs in 45 states and continues to fly veterans every week. It has expanded to take Korean War and Vietnam War veterans and through its “Last Chance” effort any veteran who has a life-threatening diagnosis.
“You’ve both demonstrated unquestioned patriotism, compassion and dedication in support of veterans, so we thank you,” Milley said. “We thank you both for giving your time and your talent to ensure that these great men and women receive the tribute they deserve. We thank you for your service to our country and we thank you for your selfless act for America’s Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and we the United States Army, we salute you both.”