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A Salute to Regional Veterans

by Rich Stebbins

CMSgt Sevin Balkuvvar gives a
CMSgt Sevin Balkuvvar gives a "vulcan salute" during the Region 8 Veteran Program. Photograph by Aaron Sager

Service, sacrifice and dedication are words used to describe veterans and every November is the time to show our appreciation for them.

The Region 8 Veterans Group hosted a program on November 9 to give thanks to regional veterans and featured a panel with representatives from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force. The 22nd Annual Veterans Program was different than in years past and reminiscent of the times since COVID, it was a hybrid event with both an in-person and a virtual component.

James Foster, Workplace Services Specialist and Veterans Group leader, organized the event that included the Thomas Jefferson High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp posting the colors and all service flags as well as a slideshow highlighting regional veterans with the service they served in.

“I am very proud of this event which honors all of our regional veterans. I think we represented them well,” said Foster.

The keynote speaker for the event was Chief Master Sergeant Sevin Balkuvvar, from the U.S Air Force. Balkuvvar is the senior enlisted advisor to the basse commander at Peterson Space Force Base and the senior leadership team on all matters impacting the combat readiness, welfare, morale, proper utilization and progress of assigned personnel. Joining Chief Master Sgt. Balkuvvar on the panel were Chief Master Sgt. Charles Apodaca, U.S. Space Force, and Chief Master Sgt. Janna Glotfelty, U.S. Air Force.

“The service members we honor today come from all walks of life, but they share several fundamental qualities,” said Balkuvvar. “They possessed courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty and integrity – all are qualities needed to serve a cause larger than one’s self.”

The main focus of the event was to highlight the newest branch of service, the U.S. Space Force. The panel took questions from audience members in the room and watching virtually in an effort to learn more about that service.

The U.S. Space Force was established December 20, 2019 when the National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law creating the first new branch of the armed services in 73 years. With advancements in technology the space domain has become much more important as a strategic focus.  The U.S. Space Force is also one of the newer customers for GSA.

A group panel answered questions from the audience during the Region 8 Veterans Program. Panel members were CMSgt Sevin Balkuvva
A group panel answered questions from the audience during the Region 8 Veterans Program. Panel members were CMSgt Sevin Balkuvvar, US Air Force (left), CMSgt Charles Apodaca, US Space Force (center) and CMSgt Janna Glotfelty, US Air Force (right). Photograph by Aaron Sager

“Space capabilities are woven into the fabric of daily life. Satellites connect people in every corner of the globe, monitor weather patterns, carry television broadcasts, and the timing and navigation services of the GPS constellation power global financial networks as well as synchronize cell phone networks,” Balkuvvar added.

Foster closed the hour-long event with this message, “On this Veteran’s Day we honor all branches of services who answered the call to serve our country. Young and old, the individuals that fought for our freedom. We are proud of all of them.”