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Fort Hays State to honor, celebrate service members, veterans on Saturday
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HAYS – The commanding officer of the Kansas Air National Guard, Brig. Gen. David Weishaar, will lead the guests of honor at Fort Hays State University’s Military Appreciation Day on Saturday at Lewis Field Stadium.

Saturday’s game against Northwest Missouri State University begins at 2 p.m. 

The day will honor veterans and service members with Tiger football, a halftime ceremony, a flag giveaway and a display of military equipment at Lewis Field, both inside the stadium, at the north end, and outside the main entrance on the east side. 

The equipment on display will include a 75 mm ceremonial howitzer, with 15 rounds of ammunition available to celebrate Tiger touchdowns. The gun and its crew are from the 130th Field Artillery Brigade. 

Joining Gen. Weishaar as honored guests will be Lt. Col. Mark Mullinax, commanding officer of the 997th Brigade Support Battalion of the Kansas Army National Guard, and troops from the battalion, which is headquartered in Hays. 

Recruiters will also be on hand to talk about career opportunities in the Guard. In October, the Kansas Army National Guard opened a recruiting station in Memorial Union. 

Other material on display: 

• A warrior version of the HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle), popularly known as a Humvee, from the 997th 

• An MRAP (pronounced EM-wrap), a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected all-terrain vehicle from the 731st Composite Truck Company, which will also be represented by two soldiers 

•  An eight-wheel, four-axle truck called an LHS (Load Handling System) from the 997th 

Gen. Weishaar enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in January 1981 as an aircraft maintenance specialist. After leaving the Air Force, he joined the Kansas Air National Guard in 1985 and served in aircraft maintenance until he was commissioned as an officer after graduating as a Distinguished Graduate of the Academy of Military Science in 1996. 

He served in several positions in the 184th Intelligence Wing, including positions as commanding officer at the flight, squadron, group and wing level. 

As commander of the Kansas Air National Guard, he leads more than 2,300 personnel serving in two wings and an associated unit. 

Lt. Col. Mullinax leads more than 700 troops in the six companies of the 997th, which provides direct support for the 130th Field Artillery. Col. Mullinax enlisted in the National Guard in 1993 as a tracked-vehicle mechanic. He graduated from Officer Candidate School in 2003 and was commissioned as an officer. 

His Guard career includes stints as commander of the 995th maintenance Company and as commander of a regional maintenance training site before assuming command of the 997th. 

He has been deployed overseas three times, first in 2005 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, then in Iraq from 2006 to 2008, and most recently to Kuwait for operations Inherent Resolve and Spartan Shield.