Oklahoma Honor Flight
By Senior Airman Caroline Hayworth, 137th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 21, 2010
WILL ROGERS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. -- Members of the 137th Air Refueling Wing here arrived at the base flight line May 17, to assist World War II veterans participating in Oklahoma's very first Honor Flight.
Guardsmen took turns helping each veteran onto the aircraft and to their seats. Honor flights were created to transport veterans to Washington D.C. to visit memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifice. Oklahoma is the 31st state to raise an extension of the program.
Senior Airman Stephen Strong was the only guardsman from the 137 ARW to accompany the veterans to Washington D.C. and back. "Each Veteran had such an amazing story and it was such a blessing to be in their presence," Strong said. "After going on the Honor Flight with the World War II veterans, I will never forget my first trip to Washington D.C."
State Representative for Oklahoma Honor Flights, Gary Banz, referred to the flights as a race against time. "Some of these men have never been to see the memorials," said Banz. "We want to make sure we honor them for their service while we have the chance." Just days after the return of the flight one of the veterans passed away, reminding everyone involved how precious time really is.
If you would like to participate as a guardian for one of the veterans, or know of a veteran who would like to be a part of the next flight go to www.oklahomahonorflights.org. Donations are also appreciated as the organization is completely privately funded.
Oklahoma's very first honor flight takes off from the base flight line May 17. Nationwide honor flights recognize veterans of World War II and transport them to Washington D.C. to see the war memorials.