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chaptersinaction Trip of Honor


Members from several chapters volunteer their time with Honor Flight Network and enable World War II veterans to visit the memorials that honor their service.


T


his month, more than 40 Honor Flight Network tours will transport veterans to


Washington, D.C., to visit war me- morials that recognize their service and sacrifice to the nation — at no cost to the veterans. Honor Flight began in 2005 and gives priority to World War II veterans, who, ac- cording to the VA, are dying at a rate of about 640 each day. That is why members of the


Virginia Peninsula Chapter (VIP- MOAA, http://vipmoaa.org) volun- teer their time with the program: to ensure members of the “greatest generation” have the opportunity to be honored. Through Honor Flight Historic


Triangle Virginia (HTV), chapter members see off veterans from southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina as they depart via bus for Washington, D.C. Trips are held twice a year — in the spring as well as in the fall — and VIPMOAA is a sponsor of the events. Accord- ing to Cmdr. Jack Greenhalgh, USN (Ret), VIPMOAA member, the chapter has participated with


To learn more about the Honor Flight Network, get in- volved, or find a hub in your area, visit www.honorflight.org.


Honor Flight since 2009, when HTV was formed. “The chapter was a very early supporter, initially with funding and then organizing a group to at- tend each send-off,” says Green- halgh, who also volunteers with HTV. The hub’s 16th trip will be held in October. Like previous trips, this one will include about 100 vet- erans, and chapter members will gather for a send-off ceremony that includes music by a fife and drum corps, speeches, and members wav- ing American flags.


In addition to this effort, several chapter members support the trav- eling veterans by serving as guard- ians or caregivers on Honor Flight trips. For Greenhalgh, who has vol- unteered as a guardian on five trips, Honor Flight’s mission is personal. “My father had spent virtually the entire war in the Pacific,” he says. “He never came home the entire war, and he didn’t live long enough to see [the World War II Memorial]. I thought it was a very worthy thing and an honor to my father to par- ticipate.” Greenhalgh says for those who


volunteer with Honor Flight, it’s a day they’ll never forget. “The feed- back we get from the veterans is just beautiful,” he explains. “They’re so grateful for the opportunity.”


40 MILITARY OFFICER OCTOBER 2016


Growing participation Since its start more than a decade ago, the Honor Fight program has grown considerably, expanding to 130 hubs in 44 states. Nearly 160,000 veterans have participated, with more than 21,000 on the wait- ing list, and some hubs, including Honor Flight Savannah in Georgia, now are accepting applications from Korean War and Vietnam War veterans.


Col. Ed Wexler, USAF (Ret),


president of the Savannah Chapter of MOAA (http://savmoa.org) and a board member and past chair of Honor Flight Savannah, says the hub focused on World War II vet- erans, but when numbers started to dwindle, they expanded. “Regret- tably, the World War II Memorial wasn’t completed until 2004, so many millions never got to see it, and we’re working against the clock in that area. But there’s a lot more work to be done.” Like members of VIPMOAA,


Wexler and members of the Savan- nah Chapter, including members of the auxiliary, support Honor Flight trips twice a year. They have been participating for the past five years and assist with various aspects of the trips, such as participating in send-offs at nearby Hunter Army Airfield and serving as guardians on


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