Ron Newsum, an organizer with the Brushy Creek Honor Flight Chapter, says there’s a pleasant surprise in some of the numbers.
“Last May, we only had three World War II veterans on board and then last September, we only had one, so it’s a diminishing number of World War II veterans,” Newsum says. “On this flight this coming Saturday, we’re going to have 11 World War II veterans, close to 40 Korean War veterans and right at 100 Vietnam War veterans.”
The chartered 737 will fly out of the Fort Dodge Regional Airport early Saturday, arriving in the nation’s capitol around 10 A.M., and three motorcoaches will whisk the group around. “We’ll be at the Korean War and the Vietnam memorials and the Lincoln Memorial about two hours and then we’ll be at the World War II Memorial for about an hour,” Newsum says, “and then get back on the buses and we’ll go to Arlington National Cemetery.”
They’ll witness a Changing of the Guard ceremony and later will drive by the Pentagon and see the Air Force and Iwo Jima monuments before heading to the airport. They should be back in Fort Dodge by 10:30 that night. During previous flights, many of the older World War Two veterans needed escorts to help them over the course of the long day, but some of the younger veterans from later wars have stepped in to serve their elders.
“We’re using some Vietnam veterans as team leaders being responsible for either one veteran or up to three,” Newsum says. “In the past, we could only take somewhere in the neighborhood of 95 to 105 veterans, where now, we’re taking in excess of 150 veterans to see their memorials and, of course, that’s the purpose of it.” This is the 15th Honor Flight to leave from Fort Dodge. The total cost is around $100,000, all of which came from donations. Another Honor Flight is scheduled for September 16th.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)