Lt. Col Carville, Victory Belles slated for Iberville Parish Veterans Day event

Staff Report

The Iberville Salute to Veterans event is back this year with two exciting crowd-pleasers. The Victory Belles from the World War II Museum will again perform, and Lt. Col. Ryan Carville, a Plaquemine native and recently retired Air Force pilot who earned the Bronze Star, will be the guest speaker.

Lt. Col. Ryan Carville, a Plaquemine native and recently retired Air Force pilot who earned the Bronze Star, will be the guest speaker at the Iberville Parish Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at Iberville Veterans Memorial.

The event will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at the Iberville Veterans Memorial at 23640 Railroad Ave. in Plaquemine. The event will be moved to the Carl Grant Civic Center in Plaquemine if rain is forecast for the event time.

The Victory Belles have been a huge hit with local audiences, bringing spirited performances featuring WWII era musical hits and patriotic tunes sung in three-part harmony. Their performances feature dazzling costumes, choreography and audience interaction. They have performed at numerous national and international events, along with performing at the WWII Museum in New Orleans.

The Victory Belles from the National World War II Museum will perform at the Iberville Parish Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at Iberville Veterans Memorial adjacent to the Iberville Parish Courthouse.

In addition, a hometown hero will be the guest speaker. Ryan Carville, the son of Donna and Charlie Carville of Plaquemine, retired in August following 20 years of military service. Between 2001 and 2021, Lt. Col. Carville’s Air Force career took him to nine different assignments including three overseas tours. He was both a pilot and an instructor pilot, flying a C-5 Galaxy 750 combat hours over Iraq and Afghanistan.

The C-5 Galaxy is the Air Force’s largest cargo plane, capable of hauling twice as much cargo as any other airlifter. As a C-5 pilot, he was selected to the fleet’s only special operations team stretching the aircraft to its limitations including low-level flight under blacked out conditions and trained for tactical operations in contested areas. He also served a tour as Flight Instructor with the U.S. Navy, teaching Navy and Marine student pilots.

In 2012, Carville was accepted to the Air Force’s Financial Management Leadership Program, where he transitioned from operations to leadership. In this program, he set budget policy for U.S. Air Force Headquarters in Europe and served as Chief Financial Officer for two Air Force Bases.

He also served a 1-year tour in Afghanistan where he worked directly with the Afghan military, served as NATO advisor to the Afghan Air Force Chief of Budget and directed $1.8B in foreign military sales including purchasing military aircraft, communications equipment, munitions and logistics support

He earned numerous awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star for heroic achievement in a combat zone, along with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3 Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and Air Force Achievement Medal. He is married to Anna Colleen Carville and they have two sons --- Benjamin, 8, and Logan, 6.

Other features of this year’s Salute to Veterans event includes the Iberville Wall of Veterans, which now includes the photos of some 1,900 veterans associated with Iberville Parish, a performance by Baton Rouge Pipes and Drums, the PHS ROTC rifle drill team, the MSA Academy Concert Band, the St. John School Choir, the Simms Sons, and military Color Guard units.

A collection of supplies for active military personnel will be collected at this event. This is organized by St. John School students, who collect the supplies and package them for shipment to troops. Attendees are asked to please bring any of the following supplies: lip balm, medicated foot powder, shoe inserts, antibiotic ointment, anti-itch ointment, muscle pain ointment, eye drops, eyeglass wipes, mouthwash, toothpaste, deodorant (non aerosol), miniature toilet paper rolls, feminine hygiene products, shaving cream, disposable razors, body wash/soap, baby wipes, shampoo, scrubbies, Q-tips, hand sanitizer, skin lotions, sunscreen lotion (in tube), insect repellent (non aerosol), hand warmers, trail mix, popcorn, Cracker Jacks, hot chocolate, powdered drink mixes for individual water bottles, powdered Gatorade, coffee/tea, beef jerky (no pork), Slim Jims, chewing gum, crossword puzzles, room fresheners, pencils/pens, small notebooks.

The Iberville Salute to Veterans is in its 13th year, with last year’s event canceled because of the COVID pandemic. It is sponsored by Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso, Jr. and the Iberville Parish Council.