Largest group of Vietnam veterans will board 22nd Never Forgotten Honor Flight
For the first time since The Never Forgotten Honor Flight organization began in 2010, the number of Vietnam veterans boarding the Honor Flight next Monday will outnumber WWII veterans and Korean War veterans. Seventy three Vietnam vets, just one WWII veteran and 21 Korean War veterans from central and northern Wisconsin are scheduled to fly to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials that honor their service on Monday, Oct. 12. The roster includes five veterans from Lincoln County.
“We continue to welcome WWII and Korean veterans,” said co-founder Jim Campbell, “but sadly their numbers are declining as time goes on. On the other hand, honoring our Vietnam veterans is way overdue, and we are delighted to have so many of these Vietnam-era men and women flying with us on our next Honor Flight.”
The 22nd Never Forgotten Honor Flight will depart Central Wisconsin Airport at 7 a.m. and is scheduled to return at approximately 10 p.m. The public is invited to the Central Wisconsin Airport to welcome the veterans home Monday night, and Honor Flight officials recommend arriving no later than 8:30 p.m. Free parking for those welcoming the veterans home will be provided.
After Monday’s trip, the Never Forgotten Honor Flight will have taken 2,004 veterans accompanied by 1,229 guardians to Washington, D.C. during the past five years. More trips are scheduled for Spring and Fall 2016.
“We encourage any veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to submit an application as soon as possible,” Campbell said. “We already have a waiting list for our Vietnam veterans, so the sooner you apply the sooner you are likely to make this incredible one-day journey.”
Veterans receive a free round-trip flight, and guardians pay $500 for the opportunity to accompany one or two veterans on the trip. Veterans and guardians interested in taking a future Honor Flight must complete an application at: www.neverforgottenhonorflight.org or contact the organization at 715-573-8519. The veterans are selected based upon the order in which their applications are received and the conflict they served in. Preference is given to World War II veterans, then Korea Veterans and then Vietnam veterans. Veterans who are terminally ill, regardless of when they served, are also given preference. Guardians should be 18-69 years old and able to lend physical assistance to the veterans. Completed applications for veterans and guardians also can be mailed to Never Forgotten Honor Flight, P.O. Box 5056 Wausau, WI 54402-5056.
North Central Wisconsin’s Never Forgotten Honor Flight is the nation’s 77th regional hub and one of six Wisconsin Honor Flight hubs. The Wausau-based organization was certified by the National Honor Flight Network office in Springfield, Ohio on Dec. 11, 2009.