Stars and Stripes Honor Flight will fly the third of three spring Honor Flights on Friday, June 9, when the organization’s 40th “mission” takes off for Washington, D.C.
The Sun Country Airlines 737-800 aircraft will depart Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport at approximately 7:00 a.m., bound for Reagan National Airport in Washington, with 76 southeastern Wisconsin veterans on board.
Once the flight lands, the veterans will tour the WWII Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Iwo Jima/Marine Corps Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall, and more. The day will also include viewing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
Veterans who will be taking their Honor Flight on June 9 include a Marine drill sergeant who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, a Marine who fought on Iwo Jima, a Korean War special forces veteran and a Vietnam War chaplain who conducted services in bunkers during the 77-day siege at Khe Sanh. On board the plane will be eight Wolrd war II veterans, sixty-four Korean War veterans and four Vietnam War veterans.
Local veterans on the list include:
- Cudahy – Duane Decker, Korean War Air Force
- South Milwaukee – Genevieve McKeag, WWII Army clerk, and Leonard Miller, Korean War Army foot soldier
“It is our honor and privilege to take these local heroes to Washington, D.C.,” said Paula Nelson, president of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. “So many of our oldest veterans have never been thanked for their incredible service to our country so many years ago. We need to not only thank and honor them before it is too late to do so; we also need to reassure them that their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Stars and Stripes Honor Flight has flown 4,997 local veterans on these trips to Washington since 2008 and has honored 50 veterans locally who were not able to fly.
Future Stars and Stripes Honor Flights for 2017 will take place on Saturday September 16, Saturday October 14 and Saturday November 4.
Honor Flight is a national program with more than 130 hubs from coast to coast. The WWII Memorial did not open until 2004 and many veterans are unable to visit Washington without assistance. The average age of a WWII veteran is 92 years old, and only five years separate the average WWII veteran from the average Korean War veteran. Nationally, hubs in the Honor Flight network have taken well over 150,000 veterans to see their memorials.