OCCC celebrates veterans at annual Veterans Day Ceremony

Special keynote speaker Major Mark Reisweber and Guest of Honor Lt. Colonel William Patrick Bonelli

    (Published: 11-2-17)

2017 Veterans Day Celebration at OCCC

Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) celebrates those who have bravely served our country at the upcoming 2017 Veterans Day Ceremony Friday, Nov. 10, 2017, at 3 p.m. in the college’s Visual and Performing Arts Center (VPAC) Theater. The college is honored to announce keynote speaker Major Mark Reisweber, West Point graduate and Army aviator, and Guest of Honor Lt. Colonel William Patrick Bonelli, Pearl Harbor survivor and World War II pilot.

Reisweber is a native of Buffalo, New York, and a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point in the class of 1981. He was commissioned in the infantry and, although a trained and qualified airborne-ranger, he attended flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and in 1982 became an Army aviator. Reisweber’s operational assignments included tactical duties in attack and lift units and as a helicopter instructor pilot at the Army flight school. He is qualified to fly a myriad aircraft, both fixed and rotary wing, among them the UH-60 Blackhawk. 

Reisweber holds a master’s degree in engineering psychology. He was a faculty member at West Point in the mid-90s. He retired from the United States Army in 2001 and is currently an engineering psychologist with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He is married to a fellow West Point graduate and has two children. His daughter is a member of the West Point Class of 2016 and currently serves as an army aviator.

Lt. Colonel William Patrick Bonelli joined the Army Air Corps in 1940. He was sent to Hawaii where he trained as an aircraft mechanic. Bonelli survived the bombing and strafing of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. After the attack, he trained as a pilot of the B-17 Flying Fortress. In 1944, he was sent to Foggia, Italy where he flew 30 sorties over German territories—21 of his sorties were as squadron and group lead pilot. Bonelli earned many decorations and was promoted to captain.

After the war, Bonelli continued his career in the Air Force where he piloted many different aircraft, including jets and helicopters. In 1960, he retired from the Air Force with the rank of lieutenant colonel. After retirement, Bonelli began work with the Federal Aviation Administration, working in many capacities and locations. He was a flight inspection pilot of navigational aids, academy instructor, and a developer of instrument flight procedures. He retired from the FAA in 1994 and has since lived in Oklahoma City.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony in the college’s Sarkeys Foundation Atrium.

OCCC enrolls more than 20,000 students annually. The college is currently the largest adult basic education provider in the state. OCCC offers a full range of associate degree programs that prepare students to transfer to baccalaureate institutions while other degree and certificate programs prepare students for immediate employment. At OCCC, students receive a quality education with small class sizes, dedicated professors and leadership opportunities. Students can choose from more than 60 major fields of study and participate in any of the 40+ clubs and organizations. For more information about OCCC, visit www.occc.edu.