TWF honored by Miramar Military Spouses Club

This past weekend, The Wingman Foundation was honored by the Miramar Military Spouses Club (MMSC) aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. At the organization's annual Scholarship and Philanthropy Awards Reception, staff members were on hand to receive a grant to support TWF's ongoing programs.  Hosted at the home of Colonel and Mrs Woodworth, the event honored high achieving students along with TWF and Semper Fi Fund. The non-profits were honored for their contributions to the MCAS Miramar community.

TWF Head of Fundraising, Luke Goessman, provided a short overview of the organization and our efforts over the past several years. Growing from just an idea three Marine Corps aviators had to an organization that has been able to assist numerous families across the globe, Luke noted that the support of organizations like the MMSC has allowed TWF to prosper and grow.  Luke also noted that 97 cents of every dollar TWF receives goes right back into the programs that honors the sacrifices of the fallen. 

L to R: Col Woodworth (CO, MCAS Miramar), Ricky Savage, Luke Goessman, Michael Rogers (all from TWF), MGen Wise (CG, 3d MAW), Leah Borg and Bobbie Champine (co-presidents of MMSC)

L to R: Col Woodworth (CO, MCAS Miramar), Ricky Savage, Luke Goessman, Michael Rogers (all from TWF), MGen Wise (CG, 3d MAW), Leah Borg and Bobbie Champine (co-presidents of MMSC)

 

The grant was presented by the Commanding General, Third Marine Aircraft Wing, Major General Mark Wise and Commanding Officer, MCAS Miramar, Colonel Jason Woodworth along with MMSC Co-Presidents Bobbie Champine and Leah Borg.  Also on hand to receive the grant on behalf of TWF were staff members Ricky Savage and Michael Rogers.

 

The event marked another opportunity to tell The Wingman Foundation's story and continue to inform the Naval and Marine Corps aviation community about the support we stand ready to offer.  It also offered a chance to strengthen the bond between TWF and the MMSC, who has been one of our strongest supporters.

 

Recap of Support for Pegasus 31/32 Mishap

On January 14, 2016, 12 Marines lost their lives after two CH-53E crashed off the coast of Oahu.  The Wingman Foundation, in coordination with several other non-profits launched into action to care for the families these Marines left behind. TWF provided flights and lodging for the families and worked to financially help those that were already en route before we could help. 

The Wingman Foundation's commitment to their sacrifice did not end there. In the weeks and months that followed, TWF worked with the Pegasus squadron leadership to provide memorial shirts and bracelets to the family members, provided funds for an on-base memorial at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (Kaneohe Bay) and helped with the moving expenses for families returning to the mainland. Thanks to the generous donations of our supporters, TWF was also able to assist Marines from Hawaii attend funerals and memorial services in the hometowns of those that were lost.

Michael Rogers, the Head of Programs, noted, "This mishap  hit home for everyone involved with Navy and Marine Corps aviation. We really tried to ensure that the families were covered in every way, especially in the months that followed. Our continued commitment to these Marines and their families is the hallmark or our mission statement, that we will 'Never leave a Wingman behind.' It has been our honor to be able to help these families."

This infographic shows just how much support TWF was able to provide after the Pegasus 31/32 mishap

This infographic shows just how much support TWF was able to provide after the Pegasus 31/32 mishap

This past January, the squadron, families, and friends of those lost were able to remember the Marines that were lost. Memorial bricks were dedicated on base and events were held throughout the weekend to commemorate the one year anniversary. 

For those interested in providing The Wingman Foundation with continued financial support which will allow TWF to continue to support families like those affected by this mishap, please consider donating using the link above.

2016 Lieutenant Colonel Chris "Otis" Raible Scholarship Winners Announced

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The Wingman Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Lieutenant Colonel Christopher “Otis” Raible Educational Grant. Due to the high level of qualifications and service displayed by the large pool of applicants, it was decided by the “Otis” Scholarship Committee to award two highly-deserving veterans with $5000 grants.  Because of their outstanding achievements one undergraduate student and one graduate student were each selected for the honor.

Tegan Griffith

Tegan Griffith

Tegan Griffith served as an Aircraft Maintenance Administration Specialist in the Marine Corps before leaving active duty.  She is currently working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  Since her enlistment, Tegan has been active in veterans’ causes, to include working for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and as an active leader for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).  She is also serving as the UW-Stevens Point Student Government Association Chief of Staff and an active member of the UW-Stevens Point Veterans Club.

Brennan Shearer

Brennan Shearer

Brennan Shearer, working towards a Masters of Public Administration at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, was selected as the Graduate Student winner. After completing an enlistment in the Marine Corps as Logistics Specialist in the Air Wing, Brennan completed his undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina. After a stint as a management consultant and analyst, he returned to school. Since leaving active duty, Brennan has served the veteran community by creating a workplace veterans group, volunteering with a non-profit organization serving homeless and at-risk veterans.

“There were many qualified veteran and active duty servicemember applicants but these two stood out for their desire to continue to give back after completing their degrees,” said Michael Rogers, The Wingman Foundation’s Head of Programs.  “We are grateful to the Raible family to allow us to continue to share Chris’s story and honor his sacrifice by providing opportunities for the next generation of leaders.  Tegan and Brennan are great representatives of what ‘Otis’ stood for.”

Chris "Otis" Raible

Chris "Otis" Raible

LtCol Raible, the Commanding Officer of Marine Attack Squadron 211, put himself between the enemy and his Marines when the Bastion Air Field was attacked in 2012. Armed with only a pistol, he personally led his Marines against an infiltrating Taliban force in Afghanistan before falling to enemy fire.  It is in this spirit of tenacity and commitment that The Wingman Foundation is proud to honor LtCol Raible's sacrifice.

The Wingman Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves Navy and Marine Corps Aviation. Michael also noted, “It’s our mission is to honor the sacrifices of our fallen air warriors. The 'Otis' Raible Scholarship is just one of the programs that TWF has creating to honor the memories and sacrifices of fallen heroes.” 

Please check out the Education page to find more information on other scholarships, including the Major Michael “Martini” Martino Scholarship, to be awarded this spring. 

“Never Leave A Wingman Behind.”

Co-Founders present at MCAA event with Deputy Commandant in attendance

On March 9th, 2017, two of The Wingman Foundation’s co-founders, Phil Duong and Jack Guevara, were invited to speaker at the Marine Corps Aviation Association’s monthly dinner at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia.  The event, attended by Navy and Marine Corps leaders and defense industry professionals, allowed us to share our story.  Among those in attendance was Lieutenant General Jon “Dog” Davis, the Deputy Commandant for Aviation (the advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps on all matters relating to Aviation).  Phil and Jack were able to get a brief presentation to the attendees prior to the event’s keynote speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Gregory “Sumo” Summa, the Commanding Officer of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501).  The talk was a great chance to engage an audience well connected to our issues and introduce ourselves to new pool of potential supporters and leaders of our cause.

"Donger" (left) and "Chili" (right) with LtGen "Dog" Davis, DCA

"Donger" (left) and "Chili" (right) with LtGen "Dog" Davis, DCA

“Chili” and “Donger” covered the brief history of our foundation, our mission to serve families during the post-mishap period and honor those sacrifices made in the years that pass, and gave examples of our impact.  TWF has been able to support both squadrons and families of the fallen based off of the generous backing of supporters.  “Chili” noted that what had started as an idea among three friends and fellow aviators has been able to touch the lives of many people across the globe.  Their short talk explained that all of our staff are volunteers, giving our time and experience, in order to ensure that we “Never Leave a Wingman Behind.”

 

At the closing of their presentation, they we met with a standing ovation.  We at TWF know that it is our supporters that have enabled us to touch so many people and it is our honor to carry out our mission.

 

If you are interested in supporting are future efforts, please considering donating to our cause or contacting us at  admin@wingmanfoundation.org.

2016 New York City Memorial Day Walk-A-Thon

On May 30, 2016, the Wingman Foundation completed its inaugural Memorial Day Walk-a-Thon in New York City! Over 70 people braved the inclement weather in front of the USS Intrepid on Monday morning for the start of the walk. We were humbled to be joined by fellow servicemen and women, as well as friends and family from as far as Hawaii, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

The 32-mile course took the group around the perimeter of Manhattan, with each mile dedicated to the memory of those we have lost in Navy and Marine aviation mishaps over the last ten years.

Some participants walked through particular neighborhoods, others chose to walk specific miles for their friends and loved ones, and about ten walkers covered the entire course. At each mile, the group paused to read the names and stories of the fallen, look at their pictures, and share our memories of them. It was an intimate setting and a way for our community to re-tell stories of their colleagues and friends. We hope that our day proved to have kept these warriors' legacies alive and that they are never forgotten.

Mile 29: Capt Ben Potter remembers LCpl Joshua Barron and LCpl Matthew Determan

Thank you to everyone who walked, volunteered, and donated — you made our first Walk-a-Thon a success and helped remind us of the true meaning of Memorial Day. It was a long, fun day, and we’re already looking forward to next year!

A detailed list of those we remembered and their stories is below:

The Wingman Foundation's Newest Ultra-Athletes to Tackle the Salton Sea Ultra-Marathon (81 miles!)

The Wingman Foundation is proud to welcome its two newest ultra-athletes, Brittany McCullough and Monique Jacques. They'll be attempting one of the most difficult ultra-marathons in the United States, the Badwater Salton Sea Ultra.

The two will traverse 81 nonstop miles through the Southern California desert, from below sea level at the Salton Sea to the scenic summit of Mt. Palomar!

And lucky for us, they're representing The Wingman Foundation to raise awareness and help raise funds for our mission to "Never Leave a Wingman Behind."

 

LtCol Chris "Otis" Raible Educational Grant Recipient Announced

We're excited to announce our inaugural educational grant recipient, named in honor of the late LtCol Chris "Otis" Raible. 

Head over to the Education page for more details!  And if you know qualified and deserving candidates attending post-secondary school, be sure to spread the word for our 2016 educational initiatives once announced later this spring!

Wingman Social at The Brew Project (San Diego, CA)

Another great event in the books! This past Friday, February 26th, The Wingman Foundation paired up with one of San Diego’s newest gastropubs to farewell 2015 and take advantage of the great food and 25 beers on tap. The Brew Project graciously opened up their business, allowing The Wingman crowd to take over the entire second floor of the venue with a full service bar to boot.  Additionally, The Brew Project donated a portion of the night’s proceeds directly to The Wingman Foundation!

Enjoying a few drinks wasn’t our only objective. The Wingman Foundation staff had the opportunity to thank a handful of our incredible supporters face to face.   Aircrew from nearly every Marine Corps aviation community were present. The diversity in the crowd goes to show how deep the roots of brother and sisterhood run. We think it’s safe to chalk this one up as a huge success, and we can’t wait to see everyone at the next event.  Remember, NEVER leave a wingman behind!

 

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