Operation: Honor Flight, Part 1

Location: Plainfield High School
Time: 0445 Hours
Mission: Honor Flight
Mission Details: Take 178 veterans and their guardians to see our nation’s capital.

Dale True is a part of the group making this mission happen.

“It’s actually very addictive. We have to tell people that up front,” True said.

Honor Flight began in the early 2000’s when a doctor used his private plane to fly World War II veterans to see their memorial. Now, Indy Honor Flight is one of the several hubs who’ve joined this mission.

“Youngest guy on the flight today is 64, who’s a veteran. The oldest is 99,” True said.

91-year-old David Dragon of Terre Haute served in the Marine Corps in Okinawa during World War II. He’ll join his son on an adventure of a lifetime.

“We’re here. We’re happy. We’re ready to go,” David said.

Indy Honor Flight wants veterans who served in World War II, as well as those who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The guardians pay for their own trips,but the veterans go for free.

“I want everything I see to be a surprise because I’ve never been there before,” Dragon said.

It’s a strange irony shared by many of these veterans who’ve seen combat, yet they’ve never seen our nation’s capital.

“It’s a lot that they’ve really honored us for our service, especially the World War II and Korea guys,” Vietnam veteran Perley Davenport said.

“To me, it’s just a real tribute to all the volunteers that go out of their way. I know they want to make us honoraries. But really to me, they’re the honoraries,” Thomas Woodburn, another Vietnam veteran told us.

It takes more than 100 volunteers to put on the Honor Flight: intake, servers, and people helping to load veterans on buses that take them to the airport.

David says getting on a bus reminds him f the day we went off to war.

“They treated us like cattle…hurry up and wait…get on! Hurry up! Move out!” David laughs looking back at the memory.

This group of veterans heading out on the Honor Flight could hardly contain their excitement.

What is World War II veteran Jerry Boyll looking forward to the most?

“Oh, the pretty girls!”

“Very big surprise!  I never figured it would happen,” Vietnam veteran Michael Dwyer said.

Michael’s daughter Teresa is excited her father got the chance to make this much-deserved trip.

“He’s never been to Washington D.C. He’s always wanted to be able to go, so I thought it was important to get this chance,” Teresa said.

“It’s a miracle. I couldn’t believe it. I was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, but I never got up to Washington,” World War II veteran Harold Stagg told us.

Ethan Dozier received a Purple Heart at Iwo Jima in World War II.

“It means a whole lot to the country and to the veterans,” Dozier said.

Every day, nearly 500 World War II veterans die, meaning time is of the essence.

“I just hope every vet that’s still living can get a chance to go,” David said.

“We would love to get a hold of them, would like to fly them, especially the World War II and Korea folks because of the age,” True said.

If you are interested in learning more about the Honor Flight you can find them at this link.