By: Value News | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: November 2021
Matthew McHaney, 57, served nine years in the Army Airborne Division and made 26 jumps. Originally from Denver, Colo., McHaney had stints in Ft. Campbell, Ky., Ft. Bragg, N.C., Ft. Richardson, Alaska, Ft. Meade, Md., and Ft. Sherman, Panama.
“The friends I met, my cohorts were the best part of my military experience,” McHaney said. “I served in the eighties, so we were in the War on Drugs. I was in Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador.”
McHaney was trained in the Cohort Unit, which means all of his colleagues went to Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training, Air Assault, and Airborne School together.
“And then we all went to the same unit, so we all stayed together for four years. I still have life-long friends,” McHaney said.
McHaney and his wife of 12 years moved to the area in 2009. These days he spends much of his time at the Military History Center in Broken Arrow. He still enjoys the camaraderie among his fellow veterans. McHaney is still serving his country by listening and supporting his fellow veterans who find solace there.
Though it’s been more than 30 years since McHaney has served in the military, much of the work he did while serving in the U.S. Military, the Department of Defense still considers Top Secret.
“They will only verify that I served in Central America, which is kind of weird after all these years,” he said.
Fellow veterans, especially those serving during wartime, share a bond that’s difficult for others to understand.
“It’s hard for somebody who’s shot at someone or has been shot at or maybe has taken someone else’s life to talk about it, so just listening to their stories and understanding is a big help.”
He says they can talk about anything, whether it is the experiences during time served or after trying to coordinate Veterans benefits. They understand each other.
“We can talk about anything,” he said. “There are really good people here.”
Veterans Day, which commemorates veterans of all wars, is recognized on Nov. 11 of each year in the U.S. in honor of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I.
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