Washington Co., WI – Eight Vietnam veterans from Washington County will be participating in the Stars & Stripes November Honor Flight to Washington D.C.
The local Vietnam veterans include Thomas Buschke (Army) of Hartford, Michael Darvin (Air Force) of Hartford, Kenneth Weddig (Coast Guard) of Kewaskum, Glenn Bogenschneider (Army) of Slinger, Michael Carney (Air Force) of Slinger, and Thomas Albinger (Air Force), Charles McCormick (Army), and Donald Pape (Army) all of West Bend.
Stars and Stripes Honor Flight’s 60th mission will take off on Saturday, November 6 when two chartered aircraft will depart Milwaukee for a one-day trip to the nation’s capital. On that date, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight will welcome the 8000th veteran to fly with the organization since it was founded in 2008.
“We are so thrilled to welcome our 8000th veteran,” said Karyn Roelke, president of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. “What an honor it has been to celebrate the service of so many of our friends and neighbors. We are so grateful to our incredible corps of volunteers and to our sponsors who have helped us honor so many local heroes.”
Two Allegiant Airlines A320 aircraft will leave Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport at approximately 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on flight day, bound for Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International (BWI) Airport with 106 local veterans (and their guardians) on board. On that day, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight will welcome 3 Korean War veterans and 103 veterans of the Vietnam War or Vietnam Era. All veterans, guardians and volunteers on the flight are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate.
Veterans taking their Honor Flight on November 6 include a husband and wife pair of career Navy veterans, two brothers who both served during the Vietnam War, and a Vietnam War Marine who was awarded two Purple Hearts.
After the plane lands at BWI Airport on flight day, the veterans will board coach buses to tour the 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.
“It is our honor and privilege to take these local heroes to Washington DC and to give them an entire day of thanks,” Roelke said. “So many of our veterans have never been thanked for their incredible service to our country so many years ago. We need to not only thank and honor them before it is too late to do so; we also need to reassure them that their service and sacrifices will never be forgotten.”
While the veterans’ families and close friends are encouraged to attend the Homecoming parades at Mitchell Airport, the general public is asked to participate virtually, through Facebook, until the community spread of COVID-19 is less of a threat. “The veterans’ families and our volunteers will give the veterans a Homecoming they will never forget,” Roelke said. “While we understand that the general public may be disappointed that they cannot participate in the Homecoming in person at this time, veteran safety is always our top priority.”
Prior to the November 6 flight, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight has flown 7,903 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 more than $.97 of every donated dollar goes directly to flying and honoring veterans.
Honor Flight is a national program with more than 130 hubs from coast to coast. Nationally, hubs in the Honor Flight network have taken almost 250,000 veterans to see their memorials.
Timeline of activities for the Saturday, November 6th Stars and Stripes Honor Flight:
5:00 am –Veterans and their guardians begin check in at Mitchell Airport’s main concourse
5:45 am – National Anthem by Milwaukee Brewers’ singer Bob Kozlowski
7:00 am – Flights depart for Baltimore/Washington Int’l Airport, water cannon salute on runway
9:30 am (ET) – Flights arrive at BWI Airport, load buses for DC tour
6:30 pm (ET) -Return to BWI Airport, load plane for departure back to MKE
8:30 pm (CT, approximate) Return flights land at Mitchell Airport, veterans deplane for parade through the airport’s main concourse. The University of Wisconsin Alumni Band will provide spirit for the Homecoming parade.