October 27, 2017 – The Charlotte Hornets and Bank of America this season will once again team up to recognize a military member or veteran at one Hornets home game per month through the Yellow Ribbon Program. The season’s first recipient, Captain Carl Gamble, USAF, Ret., will be honored during Sunday’s game against the Orlando Magic. Yellow Ribbon recipients are recognized prior to the national anthem and during an on-court presentation at halftime and given six tickets to the game. In addition, the Hornets make a $1,000 donation to his or her charity of choice.
“The Charlotte Hornets and Bank of America are pleased to once again honor military members and veterans for their service to our country this season,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment President & COO Fred Whitfield. “Captain Gamble has shown himself to be a hero on multiple occasions, both in and out of combat, and it is our privilege to offer him our gratitude.
Captain Gamble spent nine years in the United States Air Force from 1965-73. He flew 244 combat missions as a pilot with the 9th Special Operations Squadron and the 46th Air Refueling Squadron during the Vietnam War, where he flew KC-135 tankers refueling B-52 bombers and other fighter jets at speeds over 400 miles per hour. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight” for landing his burning C-47 airplane that had been disabled by enemy fire and saving his crew.
In addition to the Distinguished Flying Cross, Captain Gamble was awarded six Air Medals, including four with Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Leaf.
After completing his military career, Captain Gamble was a pilot for Piedmont Airlines and US Airways for 29 years. In March 1984, he was the pilot of a Piedmont Airlines flight to Miami that was hijacked. Captain Gamble complied with the hijacker’s instructions to fly to Havana, Cuba, after the hijacker threatened to kill the 57 passengers and crew aboard the plane, all of whom survived the ordeal.
Captain Gamble, who retired in 2003, currently lives in Matthews, North Carolina, where he is a motivational speaker for youth. His autobiography, “My Blue Yonder,” was released in November 2016.
Last season’s Yellow Ribbon Program honorees were Staff Sergeant Floyd Crawford, USA, Ret., Brigadier General Velma L. Richardson, USA, Ret.; late Buffalo Soldier Tomie Louis Gaines Sr.; First Lieutenant Chris E. Franks, USA, Ret.; Technical Sergeant Timothy D. Montjoy, USAF, Ret.; and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Cantwell, USA, Ret.