American Airlines Hosts Medal of Honor Recipients

American Airlines team members reaffirmed their commitment to our nation’s military with annual events paying tribute to Medal of Honor recipients. The events culminated with a charter flight carrying 26 recipients and their families to Washington, D.C., recently to attend National Medal of Honor Day events and activities.

Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 4 (Ret.) Hershel “Woody” Williams is greeted at DCA. Williams is the last living recipient from the World War II Battle of Iwo Jima.

“American Airlines and our more than 130,000 team members are proud to partner with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the recipients of our nation’s highest military award for valor in combat,” said David Seymour, Senior Vice President of Integrated Operations at American and graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. “Our long-standing commitment to veterans and their families is unwavering. Many of our team members, including the pilots who flew the charter flight, are veterans and know firsthand the dedication and sacrifice required of those who serve.”

The celebrations began Friday evening when the Medal of Honor recipients and their guests attended the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s annual Circle of Honor Gala, this year at the Cipriani Club in New York City. The event celebrated their courage, selfless service and patriotism.

The honorable guests received a hero’s sendoff Saturday at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) before boarding an Airbus 321T bound for the nation’s capital. Upon arrival at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), the veterans’ plane was greeted with a water cannon salute and hundreds of team members and supporters were at the gate to welcome the heroes to Washington. Recipients and their families were then escorted to a special dinner hosted by American in their honor at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City.

“We’re extremely grateful for the overwhelming generosity of American Airlines in their support of the Medal of Honor recipients and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and Foundation,” said Karl Horst, President and CEO of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. “American helps the recipients and the foundation all year long to ensure we can travel the nation to educate and inspire American citizens about the values and the legacy of the Medal of Honor.”

Since 2009, American has been involved with the foundation by supporting Medal of Honor recipients and the organization’s activities. In 2011, the company became the first airline to offer all current and future Medal of Honor recipients top-tier ConciergeKey® status in its AAdvantage® loyalty program. Given to only its most elite customers, this status ensures these heroic individuals will have access to all elite amenities during their travel experience. In October, American will once again serve as the official airline of the Congressional Medal of Honor Convention, which will take place in Tampa, Florida.

American has long-standing ties to the nation’s armed forces. With more than 7,000 team member who are veterans or still serving in the reserve component, the airline places a strong emphasis on these initiatives through collaborations with organizations including the Gary Sinise Foundation, the George W. Bush Institute and USO Metro Washington, D.C.