Veterans Day program Nov. 12; Sistrunk to give keynote speech

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Lt. Col. Dale Sistrunk helmed Louisiana Tech’s Department of Professional Aviation for more than two decades.

In those 22 years, the Carthage native – and, today, Kilgore resident – quadrupled the size of the program from 123 to 496 students.

A former Kilgore ISD school board member, Sistrunk’s next post is the Kilgore War Veterans Association’s keynote speaker at this year’s Veterans Day observance. The program’s set a day after the holiday itself. Rather than a Sunday ceremony, the annual event is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 12, at the U.S. War Veterans Monument at Harris Street Park.

“Veterans Day we thank our veterans past present and future for their service to our great country,” association president John Edney said. In addition to the ceremony’s regular lineup of patriotic observations and honors, this year’s entertainment will be provided by members of the Sweet Adelines female barbershop quartet singers: “Very excited to hear these ladies. They have a great harmony – should be very entertaining for our veterans.”

Sistrunk has an extensive biography from his service in the United States Air Force, says Veterans Day ceremony co-organizer Joe Parker.

A Carthage native, Sistrunk attended Texas A&M University and earned his Bachelors degree in Political Science and History at University of Nebraska. He pursued a Masters degree in Management Supervision from Central Michigan University and acquired his doctorate from Louisiana Tech.

Amidst his education, Sistrunk spent 23 years in the Air Force, including two tours in Vietnam as a fighter/bomber pilot flying the F-100 Super Sabre. He was also operations office in direct supporter of Pleiku Vietnam and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for valor along with 22 air medals during the war.

“He retired in 1984 as a Lt. Col. Command Pilot with over 15,000 flight hours,” Parker noted.

After his tenure with Louisiana Tech, Sistrunk and his wife, Lawana, moved to Kilgore, where the veteran found other ways to serve. He’ll offer insight from his military career and civilian service Nov. 12.

“It looks like it’s going to be a pretty good ceremony,” Parker said.

There are no rain-out plans for the event.

“Invite everyone to come out,” Edney added, “bring your lawn chair, and we’ll see you there.”

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