AA Strikes a Perfect Chord for Veteran
AA joined the Academy of Country Music, West Point Choir and the Wounded Warrior Project to fly the West Point Choir and a wounded Iraq soldier to Las Vegas to participate in the Country Music Awards. 52 members of the West Point Choir traveled in uniform with one special Iraq soldier, U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Andrew Kindard.
In April 2007, about six weeks into his deployment in Iraq, Kindard lost both of his legs and suffered a laundry list of severe injuries when a 155 mm artillery shell that he was standing directly on top of was detonated. The days after the blast took Kindard to several medical facilities. He went into cardiac arrest multiple times and, immediately following the explosion, was issued 67 units of blood – before eventually arriving at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
Prior to the flight's arrival in Las Vegas (LAS), Agents Chris Johnson and Patti Ruiz made announcements inviting passengers in the gate area to assist them in welcoming him. It wasn't long before hundreds of passengers gathered around gate D8; many with cameras in hand. As he wheeled off the jet bridge into the lounge area, the huge crowd erupted in cheers and applause bringing an amazing ear-to-ear grin to Kindard's face and tears to the eyes of most of those present. It was a welcome that Lt. Kinard will not soon forget.