'American Patriot' Cessna Mustang Designated for Vet Airlift Command Missions
November 10 2011 – The special Citation Mustang American Patriot unveiled by Cessna at last month’s NBAA convention makes its first Veterans Airlift Command this week when it flies two veterans from San Antonio, Texas, to and from VAC’s annual fundraiser in Pinehurst, North Carolina, for Veterans Day on Friday. VAC provides free medical and compassionate transportation for wounded veterans and their families through a national network of aircraft owners and pilots, and none appears to be as unique and purpose-built as American Patriot.
Scheduled passengers on American Patriot’s inaugural mission are former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Bobby Henline, injured in April 2007 by an improvised explosive device attack in Iraq, and U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Matthew Miles, who lost a leg to an IED attack in October 2007 in Afghanistan.
American Patriot’s unique paint scheme features the “Patriot Defender” character holding a shield featuring the four branches of the Armed Forces, with a large American flag unfurling down the side of the fuselage.
“Our men and women in uniform have given our country a tremendous service, and many have paid a heavy price,” said Scott Ernest, Cessna president and CEO. “Our commitment of the American Patriot to support the Veterans Airlift Command allows us to demonstrate our gratitude and provides Cessna with a way to give back to our wounded warriors.
“I encourage those who have not yet registered their aircraft with VAC to join up and fly with us so no travel need goes unmet.”
Walt Fricke, VAC founder and air boss, thanks Cessna for the use of American Patriot. “Many of our veterans return from combat facing devastating injuries and long-term rehabilitation,” he said. “Many times, they are recuperating hundreds of miles away from family. Our goal at VAC is to be that bridge that brings families together to help our veterans heal.
“We are fortunate to have Cessna join us in providing our wounded warriors with this crucial service.” For more information on Veterans Airlift Command, click here.