Today, 17 service members graduate from the inaugural Veterans in Piping (VIP) welding class at Fort Campbell, which is located astride the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Fort Campbell is also our first VIP site where we have built our own welding shop on base thanks to the installation generously providing an entire building to dedicate to the program.
Several distinguished Army leaders will be attending today's ceremony. Lieutenant General David D. Halverson, Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, Commanding General, Installation Management Command will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony. Other special guests will include Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Hartless, Command Sergeant Major U.S. Army Installation Management Command; Mr. Bill Harpel, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Tennessee East and 2010 Champion of Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Mr. Phill Harpel, 2010 Champion of Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and Colonel David Dellinger, Garrison Commander, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
UA Director of Training Chris Haslinger and Major General (R) Matt Caulfield will be giving graduation remarks, and UA International Representative Dave Posey will be the EMCEE for the event.
The VIP Program offers high-quality skills training and jobs in the pipe trades to active duty military personnel preparing to leave the service. Participants in the program receive 18 weeks of accelerated skills training in either welding, HVACR or sprinklerfitting, and earn industry-recognized certifications and college credit as part of their training. Upon graduation, participants gain direct entry into UA apprenticeship programs, which are recognized in the industry as the best in the business.
The VIP program is currently being offered at Camp Lejeune (NC), Camp Pendleton (CA), Joint Base Lewis-McChord (WA), Fort Carson (CO), Fort Hood (TX), Fort Campbell (KY), and Fort Sill (OK). We are also planning to expand to Naval Station in Norfolk, VA and Fort Stewart in Georgia.
To learn more about the VIP Program, visit www.uavip.org.