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Honor Flight San Diego Tours USNA

The United States Naval Academy (USNA) hosted 79 veterans, from all different military services, as a part of the Honor Flight San Diego program.

This was the first time that veterans participating in the Honor Flight program have been brought to the Naval Academy for a tour.

Honor Flight San Diego is part of the nationwide Honor Flight Network and is one of the 130 hubs.

The mission of Honor Flight San Diego is to escort veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials and thank them for their service and sacrifice to the United States and its citizens.

“The whole thing is fantastic, It boggles my mind to think that someone would do all this for me,” said Retired Senior Chief Store Keeper Joseph J Voss. “Every time someone says thank you for your service, it puts a huge smile on my face.”

On this fall's trip, there were a total of 79 veterans who made the trip from San Diego to Washington D.C. The group included 78 WWII era veterans and 1 Korea era veteran. Three of these heroes are over 100-years-old, five are women who served during WWII, and among the group are former Prisoners of War, Pearl Harbor Survivors, Purple Heart recipients and Bronze Star recipients.

During their time at USNA, the veterans got a bus tour of the yard and had the opportunity to learn about some of the Naval Academy’s history and traditions. After the tour, the group dined at the Officer’s Club and were joined by a group of midshipmen for lunch.

“The most amazing thing for me was that on the flight they had ‘mail call’,” said Voss. “They had letters and cards from friends and passed them out to all of us on the plane. I got nine of them, and they were all just tear jerkers.”

On each Honor Flight, there are 75-80 veterans and every veteran has a Guardian to assist them. The Veteran’s trip is at no cost to them, it is a way of saying thank you for defending our freedoms.

During their trip the Veterans start the day at the National WWII Memorial then go to the Vietnam, Korea and Iwo Jima (Marine Corp) memorials, U.S. Air Force memorial and U.S. Navy Yard museum. The veterans also visit Arlington National Cemetery and witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

When the group returned home, they arrived to a hero’s welcome. Approximately 1,000 people filled the airport to greet them. Active duty military in uniform line the rails saluting each veteran, alongside friends, family, students, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other grateful citizens.

Created By
MC2 Brianna Jones
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Credits:

U.S. Navy story and photos by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brianna Jones

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