HATTIESBURG, Miss., June 28, 2014— The American Red Cross South Mississippi Chapter is hosting its second annual Stars and Stripes: Salute to the Military featuring Major General Buford “Buff” Blount, III (Ret.) U.S. Army, on Thursday, July 24 from 6-10 p.m. at the University of Southern Mississippi Thad Cochran Center Ballroom located at 118 College Drive in Hattiesburg.
The event will also feature an awards and recognition ceremony for four Pine Belt-area veterans for their service and dedication to country and community. Honorees include retired Col. Sheila Varnado, U.S. Army; retired Lt. Col. Raylawni Branch, U.S. Air Force Reserve; retired Lt. Col. Fred Varnado, U.S. Army; and former Staff Sgt. Steven Effa, U.S. Air Force.
“The Red Cross is appreciative of our community members who not only give back to Red Cross, but also give back to the community,” said John Brown, Red Cross Hattiesburg Advisory Board Chairman. “We are excited to honor these veterans for their service to our country as well as the countless hours of volunteer service they have given to the Hattiesburg community.”
WDAM News Anchor Mike McDaniel will serve as emcee. The evening will also feature entertainment by Rewind featuring Lady Patrice and a silent auction. Several local restaurants will be on hand serving tastings of their favorite menu items.
Tickets are $50 each and may be purchased at the Hattiesburg Red Cross office located at 2020 Hardy Street or by calling (601) 582-8151. Reserved tables and half-tables are available and include special recognition as an event sponsor and a Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) partner. Tables of 10 are $1000; half-tables of five are $500. For table reservations call (228) 896-3146 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) is one of five Red Cross lines of service. To learn more about how Red Cross supports our military, visit http://www.redcross.org/mississippi/programs/service-to-the-armed-forces and http://www.redcross.org/what-we-do/support-military-families.
About Major General Blount:
Major General Buff Blount retired from the Army in January 2005, from his position as the Army’s Deputy G-3 (Plans and Operations) in the Pentagon where he managed the requirements, budget and training for the Army. This required frequent interaction with Congress as they resourced the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Previously he was the Commanding General, 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Ga. General Blount gave up command of the 3 ID after bringing them home from Iraq, where they were the lead force for the Army in defeating the Iraqi army and capturing Baghdad. After occupying Baghdad, General Blount quickly transitioned his troops from combat to humanitarian assistance as he began setting the conditions for the Iraqis to begin rebuilding their country.
Major General Blount has a 33 year history of outstanding leadership and service in the Army. He has had two Military assignments and one civilian tour in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The first from 1983-1985 as a Major and then from 1997 to 2001 as the Program Manager for a Saudi Arabian military modernization program, serving as special military advisor to Crown Prince Abdullah, now King Abdullah. General Blount returned to Saudi in 2010 for a year as the Program Manager of TSG Arabia where he established a company focused on construction and security. General Blount also has experience in other Middle Eastern Countries and Europe.
General Blount is a 1971 Graduate of Southern Miss and holds a Master of Science Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U S Naval War College. His numerous Military awards include the Silver Star, for actions in Iraq, two Distinguished Service Medals, Legion of Merit (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), and Meritorious Service Medal (with six Oak Leaf Clusters).
In addition to being Co-founder and Chairman of Mav-6, a defense oriented company focused on research and rapid technology development and integration, General Blount has also done private consulting and lobbying and work with Southern Miss. As a consultant he has done extensive work with Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), Raytheon, the Sandi Group and CMI Defense.