Officials with “Central Iowa Honor Flights” announced Monday they have enough veterans to take another flight to Washington, D.C. in August and five of the participants on the trip have a unique bond that goes beyond their service in World War II.
Daryl Gass of Des Moines is one of five brothers signed up for the flight. “I’m not sure — other than the five Sullivan boys — there’s five brothers that were even in service (together), let alone World War II, so that means lot,” Gass says. “I kind of got this in mind myself, trying to get all the boys together, and we had a problem getting them all together and we think we got them all together. We’re never sure until we leave, I can tell you.”
Daryl Gass was joined by his brothers Wayne and Warren, both of Urbandale, at the announcement of the latest flight. Dary says he pushed his siblings to get on the Honor Flight. “Somebody had to take the lead and I told the brothers, ‘You know, maybe we ought tomake that trip,'” Daryl Gass says.
Gass’ two twin brothers, Roger and Ronnie, weren’t at Monday’s event but Roger has talked a reluctant Ronnie to go on the trip to D.C. The five Gass brothers served in the Navy, the Army and the Seabees during World War II.
“Wayne went in first, Warren went in second and I went in third,” Daryl Gass says. “Roger went in fourth and Ronnie, the other twin, he was going to be a farmer so he stayed on the farm a year and he came in a year later in service so the war, I think was ending, when he came in like in ’45. It was about over, but he served about 18 months, I think.”
The five Sullivan Brothers of Waterloo died while serving on the same ship, prompting a change in military policy that forbids siblings from serving in the same unit. Daryl Gass says his parents weren’t worried about having all five in the military at the same time.
“Dad was so proud of five boys being in the service, He was a World War One veteran, dad was,” Gass explained. “We lived on the farm and in ’42, ’43 they sold off the farm and came to Melcher…and (dad) came to Des Moines and worked for the government.”
Three of the five Gass brothers were living in Washington, D.C. when they entered the service but now, six decades later, Daryl Gass says they’re excited about going back and seeing the World War II Memorial. “We lived out there a year and I wasn’t much for going around and looking at things like that,” Gass says, referring to their work for the Civil Service. “…We’d kind of like to go back and see if it’s changed quite a bit.”
Daryl Gass is 85 years old. His oldest brother, Wayne, is 87 and his brother Warren is 86. The twins, Roger and Ronnie, are 84 this week. “So we’re getting up there,” Daryl Gass says.
The five Gass brothers and about 300 veterans plan to be aboard the August 17 flight. Nearly 1,800 Iowans have flown to the nation’s capitol in a series of “Honor Flights” organized to ensure the aging World War II veterans get to visit the memorial that honors their service.