Washington Co., WI – Six Washington County veterans will take part in the Stars & Stripes honor flight to Washington DC on Saturday
Local veterans include WWII Army Veteran Anthony Elsinger, Vietnamese Army Lloyd Westerman of Kewaskum, Vietnamese Army Thomas Foshag of West Bend, and Korean Army Eugenie Olsen of West Bend.
Vietnamese Army Walter Kohler of West Bend and Vietnamese Air Force Richard Lindbeck of West Bend will also be on the flight.
Walter Kohler was drafted in 1956. âI was honored to be able to do my part for my country,â Kohler said. He talked about receiving a good conduct medal and he got a pretty high score with his shooting skills.
âWhen I got home, everyone was waiting for me and it made me feel good. When you’re away from your family for almost two years, it’s quite nice to come home, âhe said.
Richard Lindbeck served in the US Air Force. While in service, Lindbeck was part of the Saigon Military Police. He remembers being “shelled by the Vietcong” while serving in Vietnam. Lindbeck is a former West Bend city councilor and served as chairman of the Wisconsin section of Vietnam veterans.
The 57th Stars and Stripes Honor Flight mission will take off on Saturday August 28 when the “We Energies Stars and Stripes Honor Flight” and “Newsradio 620 WTMJ Stars and Stripes Honor Flight” depart for the nation’s capital.
Two Allegiant Airlines A320 planes will depart Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport at approximately 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on the day of the flight, bound for Baltimore / Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI) with 102 local veterans (and their guardians) on board.
On this day, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight will host 4 WWII Veterans, 33 Korean War Veterans and 65 Vietnam War Veterans. All veterans, guardians and volunteers on the flight must be fully immunized against COVID-19 to participate.
Veterans who performed their honor flight on August 28 include a Korean War Marine who fought in the appalling conditions of the Chosin Reservoir, two women who served in the Korean War, and two pairs of veteran brothers. from Vietnam who perform their honor flight together.
The “alpha” flight is sponsored by We Energies, a longtime supporter of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. âWe are very grateful for the continued support of We Energies,â said Karyn Roelke, President of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. âIn addition to the financial support that makes this flight possible, We Energies employees write thank you letters for our veterans, they volunteer to escort veterans during the flight and they attend the airport on the day of the flight. Their willingness as an organization to support our veterans in so many ways has inspired us. “
The âbravoâ plane is sponsored by Newsradio 620 WTMJ, which hosted a radiothon for Stars and Stripes Honor Flight in November 2019 that raised over $ 100,000. âThe listeners, staff and management of WTMJ made this flight possible,â Roelke said. “Their generous support of our mission since 2009 has been nothing short of fantastic, and we are very happy to send a plane full of veterans to DC with the funds raised during the radiothon.”
After the planes land in Baltimore on the day of the flight, veterans will board buses to visit the WWII Memorial in Washington DC, the Korean War Memorial, the Army Memorial of air, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, etc. The day will also include watching the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
As a special surprise for veterans, Milwaukee’s Hoan Bridge will light up in a flag motif that evening, and planes will fly over the bridge as they approach Mitchell Airport so veterans can see the light from the tunes. âWe hope this fun surprise for our Veterans on their Honor Flight Day reminds them of how much their entire community appreciates their service and sacrifice,â said Roelke.
While families and close friends of veterans are encouraged to attend the reunion parades at Mitchell Airport, the general public is invited to participate virtually, via Facebook. âVeteran families and our volunteers will give Veterans a homecoming they will never forget,â said Roelke. “While we understand that the general public may be disappointed that they cannot attend the reunion in person at this time, the safety of Veterans is still our top priority.”
A federal TSA warrant states that masks are required inside Mitchell Airport for anyone attending Homecoming.
Prior to the August 28 flight, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight carried 7,606 local veterans on these trips to Washington DC since 2008, and honored more than 50 local veterans who were unable to fly. As a completely volunteer organization, with no paid staff or office, the organization is proud to share that $ 0.97 of every dollar donated goes directly to theft and honor of veterans.
Honor robbery is a national program with more than 130 centers from coast to coast. Nationally, Honor Flight Network hubs have taken more than 225,000 veterans to see their memorials.
Calendar of activities for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight on Saturday August 28:
4:30 – Veterans and their guardians begin check-in in the main lobby of Mitchell Airport
6:00 am – We Energies Honor Flight leaves for Baltimore, water cannon salute on the runway
7:30 – Newsradio 620 WTMJ Honor Flight departs for Marshall BWI Airport, water cannon salute on the runway
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (ET) – Flights arrive at Marshall BWI Airport, load buses for DC tour
6:30 p.m. (ET) – Return to BWI Marshall airport, load planes for return to MKE
7:52 p.m. (MOT, approximate) and 9:22 p.m. (MOT, approximate) – Return flights land at Mitchell Airport, veterans disembark to parade through the main airport concourse. The Kettle Moraine High School Band and the Brookfield East Spartanettes will host and entertain the Homecoming parades. Masks are mandatory for everyone present and the general public is encouraged to participate virtually via Facebook.