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Virgin Orbit Celebrates Veterans Day

Here at Virgin Orbit, we believe wholeheartedly that the unique experiences and perspectives of the individuals on our team are our greatest strength. We also believe in celebrating those diverse backgrounds that make us who we are.

On Veterans Day, we took a brief break from rocket building and launch prepping, contracts writing and blog posting to celebrate our talented veteran teammates, each of whom are making invaluable contributions to our rocket program by also supporting our local friends at veteran-owned and operated Atomic Creamery. This year, Virgin Orbit has decided to donate to Operation Homefront whose mission is to build strong and secure military families so they can thrive – not simply struggle to get by – in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.

To further celebrate our team, we interviewed a few vets about their thoughts on Veterans Day, their years of service, and ways others can help support and celebrate the veteran community today and every day. If you are a veteran or know any veterans seeking job opportunities at a cool rocket company, apply to join our awesome and fast-growing team, visit our jobs page https://virginorbit.com/careers/.

Monica Liu, Senior Launch Operations Engineer, United States Air Force 

To Monica, Veterans Day is a time to think about the military and our service members. Monica says, “Veterans Day to me is about celebrating everyone who served and is still serving. It is about remembering those who sacrificed their lives and fought for our country, so we can experience the freedom and safety we have today.” This is a day that reminds us not to take our comfort for granted.

Monica joined the Air Force because she wanted to be a pilot. Flying means everything to her so she wanted to be able to serve in order to do something she loves while helping people simultaneously. Monica feels very strongly about being a part of the Air Force mission and part of a group who can protect and make a direct impact on our National Security.

The Air Force taught Monica everything she knows about Aerospace. She spent her entire Air Force career working on military satellites and launches. She worked at the center of military space programs. It introduced and taught her the role the military plays in space and how space relates to National Security. She mentions, “There are so many military space programs that exist to help us maintain and increase our national security that a lot of people don’t know about. And now that I transitioned to the commercial space industry, I can also see how our innovative ideas can have impact and shape the future of military space.”

Monica reminds us that all military members swore to serve and protect the rights laid out in the Constitution. The right to practice your chosen religion, have free speech, the rights to assembly, press, petition, the right to vote, trial by jury… the service from our vets protects all of our Constitutional rights. It’s easy to forget that sometimes. During Veterans Day Monica says we can support veterans by simply remembering that the troops exist. She encourages everyone to learn what they can about the different branches and what they do. Reach out to friends and family who are or who have served and listen to their stories. Let them know that you support them. Send packages to them when they are on deployments. Thank you for selflessly serving and protecting our freedom, Monica!

Garry Mendez, Senior Propulsion Components Test Technician, United States Navy

On Veterans Day, Garry is reminded of the service he was so lucky to perform alongside so many talented women and men. He mentions that for him, it is a day of gratitude. During his time of service, he met and was mentored by some of the most influential people in his life.

After the events of September 11, 2001 Garry knew he wanted to serve. After graduating high school, he immediately enlisted and was off to boot camp in August of 2002. He joined the military at 17, so almost all of his social and professional attributes were learned or groomed in the military. When asked about how the military helped prepare Garry for the aerospace industry, he said, “There was always a major focus on integrity to do the right thing, like point out my technical mistakes or call attention to things that didn’t look right and also to persevere under any situation. The fast pace and the constant training closely align with how my experience was while I served which is one reason I enjoy working in aerospace especially since there is always something new to learn and opportunities for growth.”

In Garry’s opinion most of our freedoms are in some form influenced or protected by the men and women in uniform. To support our veterans, he suggests donating time or money to a local veteran organization. “There are still many veterans that could use your help or just support transitioning back to civilian life and or dealing with homelessness or other social issues.” Thank you for your service, Garry!

Andrew Toache, Senior Director of Supply Chain, United States Navy 

Veterans Day serves as a reminder for Andrew to honor all of those who have served (past and present) to protect this nation.  He joined the Navy as a young man with a clear lack of direction and figured the military would help point him in the right direction and fulfill his desire to serve.

Andrew attributes his success in aerospace to being in the military and learning to improvise and work toward team goals as a leader and follower.  

Andrew reminds us that because of our veterans, we continue to have our freedom to make choices which many others do not get to enjoy. He reminds us that many veterans leave the military and find themselves jobless or homeless. We can help by supporting the Disabled American Veterans, Heroes Project, American Legion, or U.S. Vets with donations. He even reminds us that something as simple, yet meaningful, as including them in job postings would be a great start. Thank you for bravely serving and protecting our country, Andrew!