A visitor to the office of Newman University President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D. brought an interesting twist to Veterans Day. The visitor, Master Sgt. Phillip Lipke, presented Carrocci with a U.S. flag that was flown over Afghanistan on board a B-1B in her honor.
“This is an incredible gift,” Carrocci said. “I certainly didn’t expect to receive something like this on Veteran’s Day!”
Lipke is a member of the Kansas Air National Guard and is part of the 134th Air Control Squadron, stationed at McConnell Air Force Base. His squadron was called to active duty in 2011 and assigned to the 71st Expeditionary Air Control Squadron, part of Operation Enduring Freedom that was based in Qatar. Lipke’s squadron provided support for the 71st, which flew missions in B-1B bombers over Afghanistan.
The flag Lipke presented to Carrocci was flown over Afghanistan on Nov. 3, 2011.
The flag was enclosed in a display case that also included a certificate noting the award. On the back of the case two military “challenge coins” – coins that bear the insignia or emblem of a military unit – were attached. One coin represents three countries involved in the 71st Expeditionary Air Control Squadron the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. The other coin represents Lipke’s squadron.
“This was just my way of saying thank you to President Carrocci and Newman University, because of their support for the G.I. Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program, and the support they offer military and other students,” Lipke said. “I presented it to her on behalf of veterans who go to Newman past, present, and future.”
Lipke is a full time student at Newman who will earn an Interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts degree from the university in May 2014. He has been a student at Newman since 2010.
Newman University is a participant in The Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program), part of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, for veterans and their dependents. Under The Yellow Ribbon Program, The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) awards a predetermined amount to eligible veterans that covers the costs – including tuition, mandatory fees, and in some cases other costs – of the most expensive public university in the state. Newman University agrees to waive up to 50 percent of the costs to attend Newman that exceed that award, and the VA agrees to match the amount Newman waives.
For those veterans who qualify at the 100 percent level for Post-9/11 benefits, The Yellow Ribbon Program offers an opportunity to attend Newman at little or no cost.
Newman also provides free tutoring and other support services to veterans and active duty military and family members studying at the university.