What’s being called a Freedom Flight is in the planning stages for 150 veterans from southwest Iowa. Unlike the popular Honor Flights for veterans of World War Two and Korea, the Freedom Flight would be open to any veteran so they can tour the national monuments in Washington D.C.
Retired veteran Steve Livengood, of Atlantic, is helping to organize the event. “We need about 150 veterans,” Livengood says. “The priority was supposed to be for Atlantic and Cass County and if we can’t get enough of them, we’ll start going out to the adjoining counties. We’re also going to need some guardians, special skills on the guardians are a plus. They need to help these folks around.”
A committee is being assembled that will be tasked with making sure many different aspects of the trip to the nation’s capital are successful. “It’s really not just find some guys, load them on an airplane and take them out there,” Livengood says. “There is transportation, we’ve got to figure out how to get the group together, how to get them through the airport, how to get them on the plane, how to get them off the plane, how to do the tours on all these monuments.”
The flight will be free for all veterans, though just chartering the 737 is expected to cost upwards of $100,000. The trip is being paid for, in full, by two businessmen from Ames who are former Atlantic residents, Roger Underwood and Jeff Becker. A date for the flight is not yet set.
(Reporting by Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)