Ruppersberger Announces More Than 5 Million Frequent Flyer Miles Donated To "Operation Hero Miles"
Washington, DC - Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) is pleased to announce that travelers all across the United States have donated more than five million frequent flyer miles to "Operation Hero Miles" through the web site www.heromiles.org. That number doesn't include the frequent flyer miles donated directly to the airlines. "Operation Hero Miles" allows servicemen and women to catch free flights home to spend quality time with family and friends while on leave in the United States.
"This tremendous response to 'Operation Hero Miles' shows that Americans really are patriotic and want to help our men and women serving our country in Iraq. It also shows our troops and their families that we value their sacrifice for America. The overwhelming response to this program is truly inspiring but we need to do more. We still need travelers to donate their frequent flyer miles so we can help more troops visit their families without worrying about how much it will cost," said Congressman Ruppersberger.
The soldiers who have been granted two weeks of R & R are flown to Baltimore Washington International Airport by the Department of Defense and then required to pay their own way to catch connecting flights to their hometowns all across the country. Beginning this weekend, troops will be arriving at two additional airports, Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, GA, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas. Congressman Ruppersberger is greatly concerned about this excessive financial burden placed on the soldiers trying to visit with family and created "Operation Hero Miles".
Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Alaska Airlines are currently participating in "Operation Hero Miles". Information about the program can be found on the web site, www.heromiles.org. This site is a clearinghouse for soldiers, their families, and travelers filled with information about how to donate frequent flyer miles, how soldiers can receive complimentary tickets, and other ways to help our troops serving our country in Iraq.
Congressman Ruppersberger is challenging all of the other airlines that offer service in the United States to follow suit and start similar programs of their own.