ATLANTA, Nov. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Otis Bray served America as a mechanic in the Korean War. Afterwards, he plied much the same trade for more than 41 years at Delta (NYSE: DAL).
Chick Smith flew 238 combat missions during the Vietnam War. In 1973, he joined Delta and kept flying for three decades.
Daniel Christopher joined the Army after 9/11, serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq. After his service, he also found a home at Delta.
The three heeded the call to duty at different times in American history, but they share common bonds: love of country and love of their careers with Delta Air Lines.
Today, America honors its veterans and the sacrifices they have made to preserve its freedom. Delta News Hub asked three of the airline's veterans from different generations to share reflections from their military careers and their post-war lives. This video captures their recent conversation at the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta.
Bray, 86, served in the Air Force during the Korean War, working his way up from mechanic to hangar chief.
"We were only 14 miles from the main line of resistance," he said. "The experience was hectic, it was stressful, but it was very valuable… I was proud to be a part of it."
Bray joined Delta in 1954, becoming a manager in the engine shop before retiring in 1995. "It's been an honor for me to serve in the military, and it's an honor for me to have worked for Delta Air Lines," he said.
Smith, an Air Force pilot in Vietnam, describes his combat missions with flourish. "We had five squadrons of F-100's at Tuy Hoa, where I was based. Our planes would average two to three hops a day. We flew 'em hard and put 'em away wet sometimes. It was some of the best years of my life."
The 71-year-old went from the military to Delta and his flying career finally ended 30 years later.
"It was a fantastic career. The guys I flew with were the greatest guys in the world," he said. "From the time I was a junior 'birdman,' we used to call ourselves, up to my last flight as a Captain on a 767-400."
His love of flying didn't keep him out of the cockpit for long. Smith is now one of the Delta Flight Museum's flight simulator operators, taking aspiring aviators on a ride so real, you think you're in the air.
Daniel Christopher, 33, said the 9/11 attacks inspired him to join the Army in 2004. He graduated from Army Ranger and Army Airborne schools before serving one tour in Afghanistan and one tour in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne.
"Being able to serve in both theaters of war from my generation was a real honor. It gave me a lot of insight into life… and death, unfortunately," he said.
Last year, Christopher joined Delta and now works as a Ground Maintenance Technician, a job he says he's proud of. "Delta's been a wonderful company. I can't imagine being anywhere else."
Working for Delta was a natural progression of military careers for the three. And the military well prepared them to successfully deal with the airline's challenges.
"There is no substitute for the focus, the discipline that's ingrained in you in the military from the first day. Most everybody carries it with them when they leave," Bray said. "And it makes a difference."
Full Veteran's Day coverage of Delta's legacy of supporting the U.S. military and veterans is available on Delta News Hub.
Delta Air Lines serves more than 170 million customers each year. Delta was named to FORTUNE magazine's top 50 World's Most Admired Companies in addition to being named the most admired airline for the fourth time in five years. Additionally, Delta has ranked No.1 in the Business Travel News Annual Airline survey for four consecutive years, a first for any airline. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 316 destinations in 57 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs nearly 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 800 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeam global alliance and participates in the industry's leading trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia as well as a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with key hubs and markets including Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Tokyo-Narita. Delta has invested billions of dollars in airport facilities, global products and services, and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Additional information is available on the Delta News Hub, as well as delta.com, Twitter @DeltaNewsHub, Google.com/+Delta, Facebook.com/delta and Delta's blog takingoff.delta.com.
SOURCE Delta Air Lines