In anticipation of Veterans Day, Alaska Airlines today unveiled the newest aircraft in its fleet featuring a patriotic special paint theme titled “Honoring Those Who Serve.” The 737-900ER is dedicated to the brave men and women of the U.S. military, as well as veterans of the armed forces and their families. Its unique exterior paint scheme, conceived by a small group of Alaska maintenance technicians, was designed to symbolize remembrance, pride, and appreciation.
“All of us at Alaska greatly value the bravery and sacrifices of our servicemen and women and their families. We are extraordinarily proud to have this symbol of appreciation that our customers will see and fly on every day,” said Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden. “A lot of individuals worked hard to make this airplane a reality. I want to give a special thank you to the members of our Fallen Soldier program for their continued passion and dedication. Because of them, we have this opportunity to honor those who serve.”
More than 250 airline employees were joined by veterans and current members of the military for a special dedication of the airplane in Alaska’s Seattle maintenance hangar today. In the days leading up to Veterans Day, the plane will fly to cities near military bases, including Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska; San Diego, and Washington D.C.
“Alaska Airlines employs more than 1,400 veterans who remind us every day about the dedication and sacrifices our men and women in the military make for our great nation. This plane is a tribute for these employees and veterans throughout our country, thanking them for their service,” said Joe Sprague, the airline’s senior vice president of communications and external relations.
As part of its ongoing support of the military, Alaska partners with many nonprofit organizations including Hiring Our Heroes and Camo2Commerce, both of which help transition veterans into civilian jobs. The company also supports Hero Miles, which provides free travel to injured or ill service members and their loved ones. Since 2014, Alaska customers and employees donated more than 7.4 million miles – the equivalent of 300 trips around the globe.
Ashley Hence, a veteran and customer-care representative for the company, got a foot in the door at Alaska, thanks to Camo2Commerce.
“I spent three years serving in the U.S. Army and leaving was a big decision,” Hence said. “My husband and I are thankful and blessed to have been given this opportunity and did not worry if my skills would translate to the civilian workforce.”
Other Alaska employees learned how to fly planes in the military. Col. Garin Tentschert, an Alaska captain and Seattle pilot base chief, learned many leadership lessons along the way from his more than 26 years of service in the U.S. Air Force and Reserves.
“When I look at this aircraft, I am thankful for the reminder that there are those still active in the military fighting every day for my freedom,” said Col. Garin Tentschert, Alaska Airlines captain and Seattle base chief pilot. “I’m humbled to be a part of a company that values military service to the point of allowing me to excel in not only my civilian job, but also my military duties, all while understanding that my family is also important.”