UNC Charlotte hosted their annual Veterans Day Conference on the third floor of the Popp & Martin Student Union.

David Vacchi, the associate director of Student Veteran Affairs briefly spoke about UNC Charlotte’s veteran’s association before introducing the guest speaker for the night.

“UNC Charlotte is home to a growing veteran population on campus and I could not be more proud,” said Vacchi.

Guest speaker, Colonel Sonny Simpson of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, also referred to as the 30th , spoke to the audience about his time in the military serving overseas and his time at UNC Charlotte.

Simpson, attended UNC Charlotte in the 1980s for two years as an engineering student. It was here that he decided to join the military and serve his country.

The 30th Brigade is one of the oldest military combat teams in the United States and was started by President Andrew Jackson. In World War Two, they were the first unit to enter Germany and cease a German city.

The 30th was also the first unit to enter Iraq in 2003, where Simpson served his first deployment in the Middle East. He returned to the Middle East in 2015.

In 2016, Simpson was deployed to Kosovo with the 30th yet another time.

“I spent the last 18 months in Kosovo mending relations with Serbia. Our mission was to build relations with the police and work with them to make (Kosovo) a safer place,” he said.

Simpson spoke on behalf of all service men and women that day.

“It takes support of family, employers, and community for us to be ready to go back … today, let us reflect on the brave Americans who risk their lives to protect the United States every day,” said Simpson.