How Real Americans Support Our Troops!
Operation Yellow Elephant salutes the Maine Troop Greeters and the real Americans of Bangor, Maine, and nearby communities.
This nonpartisan grass roots citizens initiative to Support Our Troops organizes local citizens to go out to Bangor Airport in the middle of the night to meet all military flights passing through. They wish the outgoing troops Good Luck and Godspeed and they Welcome the returning troops Back Home to America. And they really appreciate it.
“Thank you for your service,” one man said to a soldier while shaking his hand. “Welcome to Maine,” another greeter said.
“I think I’m going to cry,” a female soldier said after being hugged and cheered in the terminal.
Lt. Col. Eric Shalita, 43, used a cellphone and got some free food, helping himself to a powdered donut after calling his wife and two daughters at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. “It was amazing,” Colonel Shalita said. “We were completely not expecting this.”
“It’s nice to know that people genuinely support us,” he added.
Staff Sgt. Stanley Siaosi, 26, was tired from the trip and missed his wife and children, who live at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. Sergeant Siaosi said the greeting made him resolute about his mission.
“This is really motivating for us to go out there and do our job,” he said. “You come here on the other side of the U.S., and there are greeters there ready to shake your hand. It gives you that patriotic feeling.”
“This is really good for the young kids,” Chaplain Jeff Neuberger, 56, said as he motioned to a room filled with baby-faced soldiers. “It’s one little gesture, but the support means everything to these guys and gals.”
[And we certainly hope they assume that anyone old enough to die for his or her country is old enough to have a beer.]
Thank you, Bangor and the Great State of Maine!