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November 6, 2007

Purdue Student Union Board to pay tribute to veterans

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A pair of pilots who survived being shot down and captured will be among the speakers at a Veterans Day ceremony Friday (Nov. 9) at Purdue University.

The 11 a.m. event in the Great Hall of the Purdue Memorial Union will honor those who have served or are currently serving in the military. It is sponsored by the Purdue Student Union Board and is open to the public.

Speakers include Bob Mindrum, director of the Purdue Memorial Union, and U.S. military veterans Col. Kevin Cheney, 2nd. Lt. Doug Morrison and Sgt. Matthew Gambino, a Purdue student.

Cheney entered the Air Force after graduating from the University of Florida in 1968 and was assigned to Thailand in 1970 to fly F-4 Phantoms. He was shot down and captured in North Vietnam on June 1, 1972 and was not released until March 28, 1973. He spent the remainder of his military career in assignments throughout Europe and the United States. After Cheney retired from the Air Force in 1995, he worked with the Atlanta Olympic Committee. He is currently the human resources director for a multi-national company in Peachtree City, Ga.

Morrison, who is a World War II veteran, served as a navigator on a B-17 for the 388th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force flying out of England. His crew was shot down in May 1944, and he spent the rest of the war in German prison camps. Morrison's wife also served in World War II in the WAVES, a World War II-era division of the U.S. Navy that consisted entirely of women, as well as his brother and two brothers-in-law.

Gambino, a sophomore majoring in political science from Indianapolis, fought in the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan as a member of the Army.

During the ceremony, the Purdue ROTC will present the colors, the Purduettes will perform a variety of patriotic songs, and musicians from Purdue Bands will play taps.

Around 11:30 a.m., members of American Legion Post 38 will fire three memorial volleys in honor of Veterans Day.

Refreshments will follow the ceremony, and a number of American Hero Posters will be on display in Purdue Memorial Union, Room 118.

Writer: Christy Jones, (765) 494-1089,

Sources:   Christopher W. Blake, Purdue Student Union Board director of traditional events, (765) 494-8976,

Margie Stoltz, Purdue Student Union Board program manager, (765) 494-8907,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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