It is an honor for a service member to be chosen to get to take what is called, “The Honor Flight.”
This flight is a one day adventure for those who have served during WWII, Korean War, and the Viet Nam War to take a flight from Columbus to Washington D.C. to see many of the things that mean so much to these veterans. Four local gentlemen out of the Lucasville American Legion 363 took this flight on September 7, those gentlemen who are friends, are Bill Andronis, Ray Howe, Don Mottashed, and Bill Holsinger.
The Mission of Honor Flight Columbus is to: Honor our nation’s senior veterans with a trip to Washington, D.C. to visit their war memorials at no cost to them. Share their stories for the benefit of future generations. Celebrate their homecoming, affirming their allegiance and service to our country. They are a 501(c)(3) organization formed in 2010, and have had 98 missions flown, 6,424 WWII, Korea, and Vietnam War Veterans served.
Andronis served two years in the Korean War and in the Reserves for five years. Andronis said he really wanted to go on the Honor Flight Columbus that the service people helped him fill out the application, and then he found out he was chosen to go.
Andronis said that his favorite thing to see was the changing of the guard. “Of course I liked it all, but that kind of caught, the precision there, of the changing of the guard,” he said. “We also saw the pentagon, there was just so much, it’s hard to describe it all.” When asked if he was tired by the end of the day he said, “Oh my yes, but I’d turn around and do it again.”
“What I liked about, was they didn’t treat veterans so good, as they did on that trip, especially when we came back to Columbus after the trip, the people that met us, you felt like you were somebody!”
“When I came back from Korea, I was in the third infantry division in Korea and it was the one Audi Murphy was in WWI and when we went on that trip, they took us to see his grave,” Andronis said. “Also, I got sent to Camp Polk in Louisiana, because the Ohio National Guard was getting ready to go to Korea, and I was sent down to work with them and finished out my term with them. They liked me, we got along real good, the Ohio National Guard and me.”
“I thought it was just super great, my favorite part was probably seeing all the people that welcomed us home at the airport at the end of the day,” Holsinger said. He went on about how it absolutely made him feel important.
Holsinger served in Korea. “I was in the Air Force for four years and I spent all of my time in Germany in radio relay work, but I did not serve in the War in Korea, because I was occupied in Germany,” Holsinger said. “I went in the service, just before the Korean War broke loose. In the service, the type of work I did, was the radio relay stations and we put up radio relay stations all over Germany, France, and Europe and when the Korean War broke loose, we had men that were sent to Korea, we were scattered all over the map. I went to radio school in Scottsfield, Il. for nine months and then shipped out to Germany.”
Holsinger said that he liked Germany and, “it was very good. I did not even hear about this trip until maybe a month or six weeks before the trip, I absolutely enjoyed every bit of the Honor Flight I felt at the time, I should focus what I was there for to see some of the memorials, rather than try to get my picture.”
“I can’t really find the words, it was outstanding. I never expected it, it was really wonderful,” said Mottashed. “My favorite part was the changing of the guard. They’ve done that since 1948, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s fascinating. I had a friend that was killed in Viet Nam and I found his name where it was on the wall, but it was ten foot tall and it was at the top, so I didn’t get to see his name.They did so much for us. Every time we turned around, they were handing us a bottle of water.” When asked if it was nice to go with his three friends, he said, “yes it was.”
“I served in ‘62 through ‘65, in Korea in the Army, it was in during the Viet Nam War. One of our (the four of us) friends had gone on the Flight and he told us how good it was, so we all put in our applications, and all four us got to go,” Mottashed said. “I would advise anybody that has an opportunity to go on the Honor Flight to take it, because they treat you so well. I was overwhelmed, when we came back into Columbus that night, there were better than 100 people to greet us, I choked, I could not keep the emotions back, it was something else, I’ll never forget it, never.”
Howe served in the Navy, two years active and 27 Reserve. He served during the Viet Nam War and he was out in the Mediterranian. “My favorite part of the Honor Flight was watching how well the veterans were treated and how overwhelmed the veterans were about that treatment. The Honor Flight of Columbus, was a well run oiled machine.”
“I m Honored and appreciative of the opportunity to take this trip with my close friends, that added to the experience going with those gentlemen,” he said.
These four Howe stated are part of the funeral detail in Lucasville.” I recommend all veterans to put in for this trip. WWII veterans get to go first, Korea veterans next, and then any other gaps will be with the Viet Nam veterans, that is putting age before beauty,” he said. “They must have had a ground group of over 100 people up there to greet us when we returned.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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