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Bringing the Comforts of Home to those Who Serve

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Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 12:00 am | Updated: 11:18 am, Mon May 21, 2018.

   The annual Quilts of Valor presentation during the May Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Luncheon at Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB) became somewhat of a “past, present, and future” event this year.

For those who may not be familiar with the national Quilts of Valor Foundation, it was established in 2003 to express appreciation for military members who have served in hostile fire zones. Locally, members of the Ocean Waves Quilters Guild of Miami have chosen to partner with MOAA for this annual acknowledgement. Current and former service members are selected to receive beautiful quilts crafted throughout the year by Guild members. Tom Powell, President of MOAA South Florida Chapter 25, Joyce Cotner, and Charlotte DeOgburn (LTC, USAF Retired) were once again on hand to present three quilts.

   Command Chief Master Sergeant Frederick Becking of the 482d Fighter Wing introduced Master Sergeant Giovanni Gonzalez, who served in Baghdad, Iraq during 2008-2009 and had a second security detail deployment in 2010-2011 to Kuwait. Gonzalez, originally from Maryland, holds a special position. Personnel sometimes come into the Air Force and can be delayed in being able to attend their basic training and follow-on technical training. There are fifty-to-sixty trainees in this situation at HARB at any given time. Gonzalez helps them transition from civilian life and prepare for the training they will attend. “He’s been an amazing asset for us and more importantly for these young people he takes care of,” Becking praised.

   Thursday’s event topped off a busy time for Chief Master Sergeant (Retired) Carol D. Archangel since last week, she proudly attended graduation at University of Florida where her daughter received her Masters’ Degree. Originally from Ohio, Archangel served twenty-seven years in the Air Force, and entered civil service where she continues to work in Finance. Ensuring an individual’s pay is accurate is always important and particularly so when overseas. While on active service, she was part of a deployment to Al Udeid, Qatar. Lieutenant Colonel Michael Young currently works alongside Archangel. “She looks out for everyone. She’s determined without fail to see everyone who is due a dollar gets that dollar.”

Nils Linfors, Coast Guard Commander (Ret), spoke of a long list of professional accomplishments of Captain David A. Cinalli, a fellow retiree. His thirty-four years of Coast Guard service included four commands and many operations such as major drug seizures. In moving on to his role as a Department of Homeland Security Program Analyst, Cinalli talked about his work in Iraq. “You might wonder why Homeland Security was in ports in Iraq.” It was an interesting point, made more so by the explanation of the need for Iraq to have a thriving, stable economy. International shipping brings tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue. Port security, however, is a significant issue and Cinalli’s mission took him into every port to assess vulnerabilities and assist with recommendations for adequate security.

   While waiting to highlight the past and present contributions of the quilt recipients, attendees were given an update about the Miami Military Museum and Memorial scheduled to open later this year. Anthony Atwood, CWO3, U.S. Navy (Ret) and PhD at Florida International University, is the Executive Director. The dual mission of the museum is, “To preserve the rich military heritage of South Florida, and to educate the young about the service, sacrifices and accomplishments of our Armed Forces and Veterans.” According to Atwood, “Our building was Navy Headquarters for Navy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations at NAS Richmond, Florida by Navy blimps against the Nazi U-boat attacks on Florida in WWII.  Built in 1942, it was subsequently used during the Cold War as CIA Headquarters (Station JM-WAVE) for clandestine anti-Castro freedom fighter operations by the Exile community.  Later it served as Army Reserve Center, and lastly as the local Marine Corps Reserve Center, from which the Marines deployed for Desert Storm.”

In a massive effort, the building was relocated to the new, permanent site next to Zoo Miami. The project became viable in 2008 and much of the work will be completed this summer. The intent is to have a preliminary opening in early September. In another of the many aspects involved in preparation for full operations, they have entered into partnership with the Miami-Dade County Public School System and the Education Center is approved for school field trips.

   The building has already been designated in the National Registry of Historical Buildings and further historical designations are anticipated. For photographs of the on-going restoration, see

Quilters who are interested in helping may contact Cotner at

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