Volunteer pilot help celebrate soldier’s memory

Volunteer pilot help celebrate soldier’s memory

Big Pine homeowner flies Tampa woman to Key West

Tampa area resident and military wife Jessica McCloskey lost her husband, Shawn, nearly two years ago in Afghanistan.

A Green Beret with the 7th Special Forces Group, he and two of his unit members gave the ultimate sacrifice when their humvee ran over an improvised explosive device (IED).

Big Pine Key homeowner Andre Bohy is president of company who offers loans to military families and heard of a group called Veteran’s Airlift Command (VAC) at one of numerous industry trade shows.

VAC provides free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes, through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots with a primary focus on veterans of Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).

Having only obtained his pilot’s license seven years ago, Bohy quickly jumped on board with VAC to parlay his hobby into something charitable.

Through the Veterans Airlift Command, pilot Andre Bohy volunteered his aircraft and his time to fly Jessica McCloskey to Key West to attend a memorial service for her husband on Fleming Key.

In late July, the Bohy flew Jessica from Tampa Executive Airport to Key West International to attend a memorial service at the Underwater Operations School on Fleming Key to honor her husband.

“This is the first time I’ve flown a spouse of a fatally wounded service member,” Bohy said, adding that the flight really hit home.

At this service, members of her husband’s dive team, and their spouses, unveiled a plaque at the military dive school where they all worked so hard “to make the grade.” This memorial service was arranged by Shawn’s Dive Team to pay tribute for his drive, dedication and his ultimate sacrifice for his country.

So few candidates successfully complete this difficult dive school, and Jessica will one day bring her two children, ages 3 and 5, to this dive school to learn more about their father. To further honor her husband’s memory, she set, and just achieved, her personal goal of becoming “dive certified.”

After a few days in Key West, another VAC volunteer pilot, Ken Kushner, flew Jessica back to Tampa Executive Airport on Sunday, July 24.

Bohy, a veteran of multiple VAC flights said, “Most people don’t realize what service members and their families and friends go through. As a pilot, I enjoy the satisfaction that comes with each of these flights.”

For information on the Veterans Airlift Command and their volunteer air service, visit their website at www.veteransairlift.org. The Veterans Airlift Command provides free air transportation to wounded warriors, veterans and their families for medical and compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.

 

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