A Special Memorial Day Message 

For the MOS Members,

I am Jonathan Wheeler, Chapter President of Liberty Guardians in Pittsburgh. I’m an Air Force veteran, with tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and a few other places around the world.

I thank you for your continued support to MOS. Also, I challenge you to reach out to a veteran colleague, to encourage them to join MOS. By sticking together, we can increase our numbers and help each other with career development and opportunities.

As we approach Memorial Day, my main message to you is more reflective and humbling than talk of careers and networking: I ask you to honor and remember our fallen.

Here in Pittsburgh, past Chapter Presidents have met at local veterans’ memorials and participated in Memorial Day services honoring those who have fallen. These events remind us to honor and remember those who have served before, with, and after us, who have given the greatest sacrifice to their country.

My apologies to my local chapter, but I will not make this offer of my time. For me, Memorial Day is spent in my home area of Clarion, Pennsylvania. I bounce between the towns of Knox and New Bethlehem for services in honor of friends of mine.

In Knox, we remember my friend Ross McGinnis, a young man I grew up with. Ross left for his military career just before I left for mine. His service inspired me to start my own path to the military. I was in Air Force boot camp when he was killed. By falling on a grenade, he took the brunt of the explosion, saving the other four crew members in his vehicle. Ross was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, one of the few recipients from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Soon after I got out of the Air Force, my high school friend Joe Garrison was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan. If you ever are in Western Pennsylvania and travel up Route 28, you will cross a bridge named after him. Take the time to stop in the park next to the bridge and read his courageous story.

I could go on naming friends like SSgt Jonathan Yelner, who was also taken by IED. Sharing their names and their stories is incredibly important and appropriate for the day. We must memorialize those who we know have fallen and ensure that their memories are not forgotten.

I ask that each of you find something meaningful to remember your fallen. Help with the decoration of veteran graves at the national cemeteries, attend a memorial, or just have a moment of silence while you are cooking.

I also invite you each to share your story with a fellow veteran. You are always welcome to reach out to me.


Jonathan Wheeler

President, Liberty Guardians Chapter (Pittsburgh), MOS