Special Mission - Portrait Presentation - Capt John J. McKenna IV - Thurs, 12/9. - 10:00am - Albany Airport Military Courtesy Room.
Patriot Guard Riders to be present and form flag line for this portrait presentation. Stage at the 3rd floor observation deck area by 9:30am.
As many of you may know, the Military Courtesy Room at the Albany International Airport was named to honor the memory of Marine Captain John. J. McKenna IV. This was accomplished through the tireless efforts and dedication of his father, John J. McKenna III and Albany County Sheriff's Lt.Douglas Buzzard. Since the opening in late April of this year, the MCR has been a comfortable oasis for over 3000 military men and women - from General Officers, Medal of Honor recipients down to the weekly parade of raw recruits boarding planes heading for basic training and the beginning of their military experience.
There is a great American portrait artist by the name of Phil Taylor with the American Fallen Soldiers Project. Phil uses his time and God given talent to create portraits of our fallen heroes and presents them to the families of the fallen. Such an event will take place this coming Thursday at the Capt. John J. McKenna IV Military Courtesy Room Military - Albany International Airport. Please view the link below to see a brief video of this gifted artist and his amazing project. At the .33, 1:04 and 1:11 mark of the video, Capt. McKenna's portrait can be seen over the right shoulder of Phil Taylor's wife.
http://vimeo.com/16930149 Keep you Kleenex's handy....
Quoting Phil Taylor:
"To the families and loved ones of our Fallen Heroes"
It is my desire that each portrait translate the deep appreciation I have for your beloved's service and sacrifice to our nation. Your loss can never be replaced, but I pray this gift can be a place of peace and reflection in your time of need. Please know that I approach each portrait with great respect and a broken heart. Thoughts of honor, bravery and valor remain constant in my mind as I paint and look upon your loved one's face. I want to personally thank you for the opportunity to give something back to those who have given so much. Because it is impossible to meet you all, I promise to never forget your beloved. Their impression, appearance and presence will remain forever sketched in my soul."
I also think it appropriate to remind every one of the selfless sacrifice that was made by Marine Capt. John J. McKenna IV. It will be an honor and a privilege to be there as John's portrait is unveiled to his parents.
Captain John J. McKenna IV - USMC - KIA Fallujah, Iraq, August 16, 2006
In 1998, John accepted a commission in the United States Marine Corp as a 2nd Lieutenant. John then served with distinction in tours of Uzbekistan/Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom - earning a Naval Meritorious Award. John later left active duty and became a New York State Trooper often patrolling the Albany International Airport.
In light of the ongoing war on terror John felt compelled to continue his service to his country by joining up with the Marine Corp again - this time serving as an Infantry Platoon Commander. It was during his tour of Fallujah, Iraq that his unit came under coordinated sniper fire. Capt. John J. McKenna was killed in this exchange and was awarded the Silver Star for his actions that day. From part of the Silver Star citation - "Ignoring the imminent peril from heavy incoming fire, Capt. McKenna ran into the intersection in an effort to save his downed Marine, completely exposed to enemy fire, he calmly knelt next to the stricken Marine to asses his condition. As he began to drag the Marine to a covered position, Captain McKenna was hit by enemy fire and mortally wounded".
By any definition, Marine Capt. John J. McKenna IV is a true American hero. It will be the Patriot Guard's honor to be there for the portrait presentation to his family.
Patriot Guard Riders – Asst. State Captain New York
Senior Ride Captain -Region 5
V.P. NY Board of Directors
Veteran Recovery Program State Coordinator