Flagler County residents are invited to gather with the Board of County Commissioners to honor the men and women who bravely served in the country’s military at the Veteran’s Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, November 11.
“On behalf of Neal McCoppin, chair of the Flagler County Veterans Advisory Council, we would like to announce our special guest speaker will be Mr. Ernest C. Audino, Brigadier General, U.S. Army
(retired),” said Veterans Services Officer Eric Flores Febles. “Mr. Audino graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1983 and retired from the Army in 2011. He currently serves as District 6 Director for Congressman Michael Waltz.”
Audino is a Senior Military Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the Gold Institute for International Strategy. He is the only U.S. officer to have previously served a full year as a combat advisor embedded inside a Kurdish Peshmerga brigade in Iraq.
Before retiring from the Army in 2011, Audino served multiple assignments in armor, cavalry, infantry and Stryker units. He considers his most significant assignment to be his service in Iraq where he commanded a team of combat advisors embedded in 3rd Infantry Brigade, 4th Division of the Iraqi Army. His brigade was formed entirely from Kurdish Peshmerga, and was missioned to conduct counterinsurgency operations.
Other key assignments include service as an Army Congressional Fellow in the US Senate, duty as the Executive Assistant to the Vice Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Director of Nuclear Support at the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency. His last assignment was as the Deputy Director of Operations for Headquarters, US Army, in the Pentagon.
Audino continued his education beyond West Point at Vermont Law School where he earned both his Master of Law and Juris Doctorate. Additionally, he has a Master of National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. National War College.
Besides featuring Audino as guest speaker, the “Flagler County Colonel Gary E. DeKay Veteran of the Year” award recipient will be announced.
The Veterans Day event is sponsored by the Flagler County Commission and the Flagler County Veterans Advisory Council.
Veterans groups to participate include: American Legion Post 115, Amvets Post 113, Marine Corps League 876, Military Officers Association of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Flagler County Veterans Service Office, and the Knights of Columbus Color Guard 2810, as well as Flagler Palm Coast High School AFJROTC and Formality Singers, Matanzas High School Army JROTC, scouting troops from across Flagler County, and the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 86.
This event will be held at the flagpole of the Government Services Building, 1769 E. Moody Boulevard, Bunnell.
Later in the day, the City of Palm is hosting a free barbecue lunch for veterans and their families at Central Park in Town Center, 975 Central Avenue. Reservations are requested by November 6, and can be made by calling 386-986-2323 or in person at the Palm Coast Community Center.
“This is our first year doing this as a thank you to our veterans,” said Mayor Milissa Holland. “We are going to have a short remembrance at 11:11 a.m. Music will be provided by the Coastal Florida Pipes and Drums, the Palm Coast Community Band, DJ Starlite Sounds.”
The City of Flagler Beach is hosting its traditional ceremony at 1 p.m. in Veterans Park, located on the southwest corner of State Road 100 and State Road A1A.
“We will have a special guest speaker and music like we do every year,” said Flagler Beach Commissioner Jane Mealy. “We look forward to honoring our veterans.”