Picture of Gerard Arpey
We’d love to hear what you think
about our airline and our employees.
Please write to us at:

Want to sign up for free e-mail notification of Gerard Arpey's column or to see past columns? Click here!

With Thanksgiving upon us, I would like to thank, on behalf of everyone at American Airlines, the men and women of the United States military. Their service and sacrifices allow us to do the work we love and to live the lives we want to live. I would also like to remind everyone that as we revel in the companionship of friends and family over the holidays, hundreds of thousands of members of the United States Armed Forces are separated from their homes and loved ones. Fortunately, our friends at the United Service Organizations (USO) are reminding our troops daily that they have not been forgotten. At American Airlines, we are happy to support the USO’s efforts.

AA’s tie to the military goes back several generations. Throughout our long history, countless AA careers have been preceded by military service, and in the past few years, thousands of AA employees in the Reserves and in the National Guard have been called to active duty. I am proud of the spirit of patriotism that has helped define American Airlines. Of course, patriotism — and supporting the troops — is not just about what you say or feel. It’s also about what you do.

To the USO, supporting the troops is a lot more than a catchphrase. For more than 60 years, the USO has let our men and women in uniform know just how much the American public appreciates them. This private nonprofit organization extends a touch of home to the military through its more than 130 USO Centers around the world. It provides a variety of services, including orientation programs, family events, travel assistance, free Internet access, and recreation services. And, as you probably know, USO celebrity entertainment tours recruit volunteer ­celebrities to entertain and lift the morale of the troops far from home.

By supporting the USO, we have an opportunity to show our appreciation and express our gratitude, in a tangible way, to the men and women who defend us. What’s more, AA and the USO are collaborating to enlist the support of AAdvantage members in this worthy cause. If you are a member of our AAdvantage travel-awards program, please consider sponsoring an Operation USO Care Package for our service members who are deployed overseas.

Here’s how it works: With a donation of $25, AAdvantage members can sponsor a USO Care Package. Care packages can contain prepaid international phone cards, snacks, sunscreen, disposable cameras, toiletries, compact discs, and other items requested by service members. As a sponsor, you can also include a personal message of thanks for the recipient’s service and sacrifices. The USO Care Package is a great way to encourage our troops and support them in a very tangible way. And to thank you for your support, we will credit your AAdvantage­ account with 125 miles for every Operation USO Care Package you sponsor.

We at American Airlines are grateful to you for giving us the chance to be part of such a worthwhile endeavor. We appreciate your business and will continue working hard to deserve it in the year to come. In the meantime, if you would like to participate in or learn more about Operation USO Care Package, visit www.aa.com or www.uso.org.

Thank you for flying with us today, and happy Thanksgiving!
Signatureof Gerard Arpey
Gerard J. Arpey
Chairman & CEO
American Airlines