'A Salute to the Troops' Las Vegas Retreat for Wounded Service Members Hosted by American, MGM Resorts International, USO
FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In an expression of thanks to all who serve, American Airlines is raising funds for the USO (United Service Organizations) this week through a special American Airlines AAdvantage® promotion and nationwide "Yellow-Ribbon Day" celebrations at many U.S. airports. The official airline of the USO, American is also partnering with that organization and MGM Resorts International to send a group of wounded service members from around the country to the third annual "A Salute to the Troops" weekend in Las Vegas.
Through Veterans Day, Nov. 11, AAdvantage members will earn 15 AAdvantage bonus miles, instead of 10, for each dollar donated through American's Miles in Support of All Who Serve program. A minimum $25 donation is required. This cash donation incentive program helps the USO fulfill its mission to lift the spirits of troops and their families through a variety of morale-boosting services and programs, including Operation USO Care Package, Mobile USO and Families of the Fallen Support. For more information and to donate, visit www.AA.com/JoinUs.
American Airlines employees are also participating in a nationwide "Yellow-Ribbon Day" on Nov. 11. Customers on U.S. flights this week are encouraged to join American Airlines in saluting veterans by wearing yellow ribbons and contributing to the USO via yellow collection containers that will be displayed in domestic airports.
"Our troops and veterans deserve our utmost thanks for protecting the freedoms we enjoy," said Tom Del Valle, American's Senior Vice President Airport Services and a member of the USO Board of Governors. "John F. Kennedy once said, 'As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.' It is in this spirit that we partner with the USO to support those who wear the cloth of our nation."
Employee-led celebrations will be held at selected airports, which will be visited on Nov. 11 by American and American Eagle aircraft that proudly sport iconic yellow-ribbon decals and the slogan, "In support of all who serve," on their fuselages.
In addition, customers and employees are invited to convey their personal messages of thanks to veterans and troops via photo booths in designated airports. Team members will be on hand with whiteboards and markers to assist, while photos of individuals and their messages can be viewed on American's Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/AA. Customers can also share photos and messages of support using the Twitter hashtag #thankourtroops.
"We appreciate American Airlines and AAdvantage members for supporting our troops by donating to American's Miles program it's a great way to show support for these heroes," said USO President and CEO Sloan Gibson. "American Airlines is helping the USO do what we do best: lift the spirits of troops and their families. If you are traveling by air this weekend, please take a moment to stop by American Airlines and send your thanks to America's veterans."
For the "Salute to the Troops" Las Vegas trip on Veterans Day, a group of more than 60 wounded warriors will be traveling from Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. They and their companions will be treated to a weekend packed with entertainment, activities and sightseeing.
American Airlines will provide transportation onboard its yellow-ribbon 737 aircraft, "Flagship Liberty," for the group from Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C. Wounded warriors will also depart San Antonio International Airport via flights provided by the nonprofit organization Air Compassion for Veterans. These flights are funded in part through its partnership with Fuel Smart, American's employee-led fuel conservation program. Send-off celebrations will be held at both airports to honor these individuals and to salute all veterans and active military.
Immediately following their arrival in Las Vegas, the group will head to The Mirage Hotel & Casino via Greyhound Lines Inc., which will be providing ground transportation throughout the weekend. Honorees will be welcomed with a "walk of gratitude" prior to a ceremony and dinner hosted by Felix Rappaport, President and COO of The Mirage.
"MGM Resorts International is honored to be a part of this important recognition of our nation's service families. While their commitment knows no days off, we are glad to provide this respite, which for all of us should also be a time of reflection for the sacrifices made by our past and current service members in support of our liberties," Rappaport said.
The weekend schedule includes participation in the Ride 2 Recovery Las Vegas Cyclefest, to be held at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. That afternoon, Academy Award®-nominated actor Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will perform for the service members at Mandalay Bay Beach, with public ticket sales benefiting The Gary Sinise Foundation. The Foundation creates and supports unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities while honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need.
The service members and their companions will also attend a performance of Terry Fator: Ventriloquism in Concert and join the famed "America's Got Talent" winner for a private meet-and-greet. Another opportunity will be tickets to enjoy "CSI: The Experience" over the weekend, plus evening entertainment at The Beatles LOVE by Cirque de Soleil. Sundance Helicopters will donate sightseeing helicopter rides of the Las Vegas Strip for the nearly 180 guests, and former members of the U.S. Army's elite Golden Knights parachute team, Mike Elliott and Dana Bowman, will perform a special aerial tribute.
Other headline entertainers during the weekend include country artist Tim Foust, who will perform a concert featuring "Land of the Free," which he co-wrote for men and women in uniform; magicians Murray SawChuck and Douglas Leferovich; ventriloquist Ronn Lucas; and juggler Nino Frediani.
American Airlines and MGM Resorts International are the title sponsors of "A Salute to the Troops" weekend, with support from USO Metro, Sundance Helicopters, the Non Commissioned Officers Association (NCOA), the Fort Worth Airpower Foundation, The Gary Sinise Foundation, Sentinels of Freedom and the Siller Foundation.
About American Airlines
American Airlines, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection® carrier serve 260 airports in more than 50 countries and territories with, on average, more than 3,400 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 900 aircraft. American's award-winning website, AA.com®, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld® alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members and members-elect serve more than 900 destinations with more than 10,000 daily flights to 149 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, AA.com, and AAdvantage are trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: AMR).
Current AMR Corp. news releases can be accessed at http://www.aa.com
SOURCE American Airlines