Armed Forces dinner to recognize veterans

JOHNSTOWN – The Armed Forces Committee will host the third annual Armed Forces Dinner on May 15 at Pitt-Johnstown to celebrate the sacrifices, determination and courage of the nation’s Noncommissioned Officer Corps and their families.

This event will bring together past, present and future NCOs to be honored by supporters from the community.

The honorary chairman is Master Chief Petty Officer (retired) Harry Muncert, U.S. Navy veteran of World War II.

Brig. Gen. (retired) Ricky D. Gibbs and Cmd. Sgt. Maj. (retired) Bart E. Womack will serve as guest speakers. Gibbs commanded the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom, earning a Valorous Unit Award for expertise in counterinsurgency operations. Most recently, he served as deputy commanding general, V Corps in Wiesbaden, Germany, and Operation Enduring Freedom, Kabul Afghanistan.

Gibbs received numerous decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal and three Bronze Star Medals.

Womack is the recipient of two Bronze Star Medals, including one for valor. He served as sergeant of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, interim division command sergeant major, 101st Airborne, Fort Campbell, Ky., and commandant of the U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officers Academy.

He is a recent author of the book “Embedded Enemy” and serves as a mentor for U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets. He has also acted in several films and served as military technical advisor on several others.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Sgt. First Class Raymond Richard Buchan Memorial Scholarship.

Buchan, an NCO, was a 1991 graduate of Westmont Hilltop High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a platoon sergeant. He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was killed in action outside Ramadi in 2007. His family and friends have honored his memory by providing scholarships for the past five years to local graduating high school seniors whose family members served honorably in the Armed Forces and who display leadership and community service.

This year’s scholarships will be presented at the dinner.

The AFC is a veteran-based organization recognizing and celebrating the patriotism, volunteerism and accomplishments of our local and regional veterans and their family members.

The AFC continues to seek individual and corporate sponsorships enabling all local NCOs to participate at reduced costs.

For more information on attending and sponsoring this year’s event, contact the Armed Forces Event Committee at 533-1781 or ArmedForcesEvent@