(Editor's Note: Due to the effect of COVID-19 on all activities locally and around the globe, we are re-running the 2017 article covering VFW Post 8904s Kosovo Remembrance Ceremony. With increased calls for social distancing to help prevent the spread of this virus, the event which would have occurred on March 24, 2020 was cancelled this year. However, if each of us take a moment to remember, they are never forgotten.)
March 28, 2017 - VFW Post 8904 and Auxiliary hosted a Kosovo remembrance at the Shelby County Veteran's Memorial on the Center square Friday, March 24, 2017.
The program was opened by Larry Hume, Quartermaster, followed by a prayer given by Cynthia Islas, Chaplain.
"Eighteen years ago on March 24, 1999 NATO launched an air campaign called Operation Allied Force, to halt the humanitarian devastation that was then unfolding in Kosovo, and the decision to intervene followed more than a year of fighting within that province and the failure of international efforts to resolve the conflict by diplomatic means," said Hume.
Hume stated, NATO announced the suspension of the air campaign on June 10, 1999 once it had concluded a military technical agreement with the federal republic of Yugoslavia. NATO casualties were light and the alliance suffered no fatalities as a result of combat operations.
"However, two American Army helicopter pilots Chief Warrant Officer David Gibbs and Kevin Riker died when their helicopter crashed in the early morning hours May 5, 1999," said Hume. "The crash was not due to enemy fire, but two of America's finest died on that day serving our country."
In remembrance, a memorial wreath was hung on the Shelby County Veteran's Memorial by Leigh Porterfield whose sister served in Kosovo.