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5 veterans from Washington County, Wi on Saturday, June 15 Honor Flight | By Karyn Roelke

Washington Co., W- There will be five veterans from Washington County, WI on the June 15 Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. The 75th “mission” will take off for the nation’s capital. It is the third Stars and Stripes Honor Flight of 2024.

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Among the local veterans include James Spiropoulos of Germantown, WI, who served in the Air Force during Vietnam.

Navy veterans Gary Wendegatz and Elmer Woods of West Bend, WI.  Both served during Vietnam.

Army veterans Kenneth Gauger and Dale Kretz of Kewaskum. Both served during Vietnam.

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On Saturday, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight will welcome 10 Korean War veterans and 51 veterans of the Vietnam War and Vietnam Era. Veterans taking their Stars and Stripes Honor Flight on June 15 include a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who served from 1964-84, a Navy SEAL who served in Vietnam, and a 30-year veteran of the United States Air Force.
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The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft will leave Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport at approximately 6:30 a.m. on flight day, bound for Washington Dulles International Airport with 61 local veterans (and their guardians) on board.  
After the planes land in the Washington DC area on flight day, the veterans will board coach buses to tour Washington DC’s WWII Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall, and more. The day will also include viewing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
Honor Flight changing of the guards

Veterans’ families and friends, along with members of the community, are encouraged to attend the Homecoming parade at Mitchell Airport that evening. The plane is scheduled to land just after 8 p.m. The Milwaukee Letter Carriers Band and the Kenosha Tremper Cheer Team will provide spirit for the Homecoming festivities.

Prior to the June 15 flight, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight has flown 10,067 local veterans on these trips to Washington DC since 2008, and has honored more than 50 veterans locally who were not able to fly.
As an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff and no offices, the organization is proud to share that $.97 of every donated dollar goes directly to flying and honoring veterans.
Honor Flight

Honor Flight is a national program with more than 130 hubs from coast to coast. The WWII Memorial did not open until 2004, and many of our oldest veterans are unable to visit Washington DC without assistance. Nationally, hubs in the Honor Flight Network have taken more than 250,000 veterans to see their memorials.

Timeline of activities for the Saturday June 15th Stars and Stripes Honor Flight:
5:00 am – Veterans and their guardians begin check in on Mitchell Airport’s main concourse
5:50 am – National Anthem by a cappella group Bounding Main
6:30 am – Flight departs for Dulles Airport; water cannon salute on runway (weather permitting)
9:00 am (ET) – Flight arrives at Dulles Airport, load buses for DC tour
5:30 pm (ET) – Return to Dulles Airport, load plane for departure back to MKE
8:05 pm (CT, approximate) – Return flight lands at Mitchell Int’l Airport, veterans deplane for a parade through the airport’s main concourse. The Milwaukee Letter Carriers Band and the Kenosha Tremper Cheer Team will provide spirit and entertainment for the Homecoming parade. 

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