'We need to remember them'
Red shirt Fridays a weekly tribute to deployed military members
There's a reason behind every red shirt.
One worker wears his in tribute to his wife, who is serving overseas. Another wears his for his niece, who is deployed on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
Every Friday, thousands of Raytheon employees across the country wear red T-shirts and other tops in recognition of the U.S. servicemen and women serving around the globe. The gesture is part of a nationwide grassroots movement called "RED Shirt Fridays," with "RED" standing for "Remember Everyone Deployed." Military veterans are a key part of Raytheon's culture, with more than 10,000 former service members working for the company. Raytheon also supports military veterans and their families through educational programs to help them embark on successful civilian careers.
"It's a very simple thing to show folks that we still, especially at Raytheon, support these warfighters, and we need to remember them," said Glen Dare, a 13-year U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq and now works as an operations manager at Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems business. He is also a regional vice president of RAYVETS, a company organization that supports military veterans.
Every employee who wears red does it for a reason. Many work on the very tools that help those deployed do their jobs. Many are veterans themselves, or have veterans in their families. Many, such as Chris Board, fall into all three categories.
He is an engineer at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, a former U.S. Army captain who served in Operation Desert Storm, and the father of U.S. Army Pfc. Cody Board, who was killed in an insurgent attack in Afghanistan in 2010. He was 19 years old.
"I like to talk about Cody. I like to keep his memory alive," said Board, whose youngest son, Tyler, is enrolled in an ROTC program and whose middle son, Aaron, is studying at West Point. "It's my way of honoring my son, and my two younger sons who are doing their best to honor their brother."
Some employees are even taking their enthusiasm for RED Shirt Fridays off-campus. Raytheon workers were among a crowd of 15,000 at the Major League Soccer club FC Dallas' Sept. 12 Military Appreciation Night. Raytheon sponsored the event in partnership with the USO.
“We salute the nearly 200,000 veterans, service members and their families who annually pass through the DFW Airport when they are deployed, head home from duty or transition assignments,” said Trudy Sullivan, vice president of communications and public affairs at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. “The USO offers service members a warm welcome, necessary resources, emotional support and a place to rest during their travels.”
DFW USO Director Stephanie Melson added: “Events like this help remind the community we still have men and women deployed to 150 countries who are far away from home and long for the simple connections to family and friends.”