Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Michael F. Canders, a visiting associate professor of aviation at was the keynote speaker at a recent "Thank You to Our Veterans" breakfast conference.
The conference, hosted by the Town of North Hempstead in New Hyde Park honored the service of veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and Desert Storm. About 160 people attended the Clinton G. Martin Park breakfast, which featured various veteran agencies to raise awareness about available services and entitlements.
Canders was a New York business executive who volunteered for active duty military service following the on the United States. He served in key U.S.A.F. and Air National Guard leadership positions for nine years in the United States, and in Iraq as a U.S. Air Force special operations and rescue helicopter pilot.
While in Iraq, Canders served as Commander of the main U.S. Air Base in Baghdad from 2009-2010. He was also the Commander of the 447th Air Expeditionary Group and Senior Airfield Authority during this time.
Canders was directly accountable for the safety and security of the 1,500 soldiers, airmen and civilians present at the base, as well as about 180,000 in-transit military and civilian passengers while conducting major flying operations from the largest passenger aerial port in Iraq. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.