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Washington, February 18, 2020 | comments
Around 150 military personnel and associates gathered in Marietta recently for the latest graduation ceremony of the Cobb County Veterans Court
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From the MDJ:

Around 150 military personnel and associates gathered in Marietta recently for the latest graduation ceremony of the Cobb County Veterans Court and, as is often the case, the rivalry between the services was on full display.

Shouts and cheers from generations of veterans, active duty personnel and their family members punctuated speeches during the graduation ceremony, which was attended by Gov. Brian Kemp and U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville.

Loudermilk, who served in the Air Force for eight years, acknowledged the inter-service rivalry in his speech, saying it was something he loved about the military.

“It reminds me of something that happened a few years ago … ,” Loudermilk said, launching into his own anecdote about the flak commonly doled out to Air Force personnel regarding their athleticism.

“The first year I was in Congress, I kind of let myself go, I was about 50 pounds heavier, I wasn’t in the best shape ever,” Loudermilk said.

A staff member introduced him to Shepherd’s Men, who were raising money and awareness to treat PTSD and traumatic brain injuries for veterans.

“They were literally running across country from Boston to Atlanta, wearing 22 pounds of body armor representing the 22 veterans a day that commit suicide,” Loudermilk said. “It was inspirational. I don’t know about you, have you ever had anything, like, come out of your mouth and you’re trying to stop it? Some people tweet that way, you know.”

The reference to President Donald Trump elicited a loud response from the crowd, before Loudermilk continued.

“I speak that way sometimes,” he said. “So I looked at Travis (Ellis), the guy who was leading it, and he said ‘look we’re running through Washington D.C.,’ and the words came out of my mouth ... I couldn’t stop ... ‘good, let me know, I’ll run with you.’”

“As soon as I said that I thought that was a big mistake ... they’ll forget about it,” Loudermilk said. “They didn’t.”

He said the part of the run through Washington he participated in was just a few miles, starting from the Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington. Loudermilk was at the back of the group of around 20 Shepherd’s Men, alongside three who were keeping his slower pace.

“I was moved, I was motivated, a little bit nervous,” he said.

Loudermilk said he started chatting with each of the men running at the back with him, and learned two were Army medics and the other was a corpsman in the Navy, also a medic.

“I was like ‘Hey, that’s cool, my dad was a medic in the Army during World War II,’” Loudermilk said. “I said, ‘So the medics are running with me because I’m a 50-something-year-old congressman?’ and they said, ‘No sir, we knew you were Air Force, we figured this is the first time you’ve ever ran.’”

Judging from the laughter, it was the best joke of the veterans court graduation ceremony. Even Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Reuben Green, who presides over the veterans court, took a dig at the Air Force, in kind, during his speech.

“It’s good that the Air Force occasionally jogs,” said Green, a retired Marine. “We want to encourage that.” READ MORE
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Tags: Veterans