The Maine Troop Greeters, an all-volunteer corps which has its roots in the warm reception given to US troops returning from the Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan wars and which continues to welcome home service personnel passing through Bangor International, will realise its long-held dream of a museum in which to house its huge collection of memorabilia.
Since the greetings began in 2003, more than 7,400 flights with more than 1.5 million service members and 400 military dogs have been welcomed home with the offer of a cell ‘phone, a snack, a handshake or a hug to let them know they are appreciated.
In return, troops have donated challenge coins, patches, dog tags, correspondence from family members, flags, service medals and other memorabilia, all of which will be displayed in the museum, due to open in November on the connector ramp linking the two terminals.
“The Maine Troop Greeters are here day or night, rain or shine, to welcome troops home or send them off for deployment and show our appreciation,” says Airport Director Tony Caruso. “The museum will provide a fitting tribute to both groups – troops and volunteers.”