Honor Flight <p> </font>

Honor Flight
courtesy of the

Honor Flight of Northern California

See: http://honorflightnorcal.org/ June 19-21, 2009

      Check them out at: http://www.honorflight.org/

      My application probably percolated through the system and finally, long after I even thought about it I got an invitation to join them for a trip to the World War II Memorial. And of course, I responded instantly with a big grin on my face.

      I was suspicious because of all the things that happen these days in cyberspace. But it was genuine.

      For those of you that have never heard about it, a wonderful group of volunteers get money from here and there. AMVETS appear to be a major sponsor of this incredible program. I was told to be at the United Airlines ticket counter at San Francisco International Airport at 7 AM on the morning of Friday, 19 June.

Attendees at Honor Flight of Northern California

      I have abstracted all the individual pictures from the above group picture in order to get all the right names in the right places.

      The [G] preceding a name indicates one of the Guardians that push the wheelchairs for us and help when we need it. They pay their own way and will accept nothing from us but our good wishes and thanks.

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4 Photo 5





[G} Janet

Photo 6 Photo 7 Photo 8 Photo 9 Photo 10

[G] Ken


[G] Alan

Charles E.

Don Hummel

Photo 11 Photo 12 Photo 13 Photo 14 Photo 15


[G] Debbi


[G] Tom


Photo 16 Photo 17 Photo 18 Photo 19 Photo 20





[G] Terri

Photo 21 Photo 22 Photo 23 Photo 24 Photo 25



[G] Rob
Borroughs, Jr.


[G] Richard

Photo 26 Photo 27 Photo 28 Photo 29 Photo **


Troy Grove



[G] Nancy Beach
not in picture
see in Picture #4

      I met my wife, Sauny, at the airport here in San Luis Obispo, returning from her trip to Daytona Beach to participate in the scoring of the Advanced Placement Test to allow students to skip Freshman English when they enter college in the fall. She arrived around 11:30 in the morning, we went home for a bit of lunch and then I left around 2 PM to drive up to the motel.

      I had arranged to rent a car at Enterprise the day before and made a reservation at a motel in Millbrae that had shuttle service to the airport. I still half expected that there would be no one there.

      Full of expectation but a bit reserved in case I was a victim of some sick mind that had worked up a scheme where he/she got nothing but weird pleasure out of seeing great disappointment in someone else's gullibility. This had just happened to me with another situation.

      I was just having trouble believing that someone would do something like this for me. But it did happen and these people were real. They were there and were treating me like I was something other than an 87 year old bumbling relic out of the past!

      I made a leisurely trip to try to make sure that Sauny's various fears about me on the highway would have little chance of occurring. I got to the motel around 6 or 7 PM, had a good night's sleep. That is, as good a night's sleep as an 87 year old with a bunch of pills for various problems is likely to be able to enjoy!

      I woke before the call I had left the night before came. I asked the desk to tell me when the shuttle arrived. It did and I was taken to the United area. I was always treated very well. After all I was 87 and tried to look just a bit more helpless than I actually was.

      Lo and behold! they were really there! I was glad that my optimism was justified. Not only were they there, they tried to help me in many ways making me almost wish I was as helpless as they seemed to think I was. Yes, everbody was very nice. They didn't seem to be bothered by my very slow gait going through the various hoops travelers have to suffer when trying to get from here to there.

      It took a longer walk to get to the gate than I was able to make on my feet! So one of the myriad of wheelchairs appeared and a nice lady seemed to enjoy making the trip easier for me, pushing me the last distance.

      I'm not used to being catered to and I do wish to do that which I can, but I have learned to accept help with a smile when I can no longer do what is needed.

      A number of us had to use wheelchairs the whole way so I just considered myself lucky to be able to do a lot of it for myself! I have been quite capable all my life and it is not easy to realize that I have come to a time when I not only have to accept help occasionally, I have to learn to ask for it.

      They put us on the plane first. I did my usual thing and stopped by the cockpit to see the pilots. I always give them my card and tell them that if they need help, I'm there! I tell them that I'm absolutely positive I could get the plane down without killing anybody. I tell them that I flew a P-51 for an hour in 1990 (with another pilot in the front seat, of course.) And I flew an AT-6 for an hour in 2006, 63 years after I flew them in Advanced Flying School in the US Army Air Force! They put up with me quite well and I honestly believe they enjoyed the brush with the past.

      I was wearing a khaki jumpsuit with my insignia and my leather combat A-2 jacket with the painting on the back and the other stuff!

      I went back and sat with my new friends and the guardians that came with us to make sure we wouldn't get into any kind of trouble. I'm always a bit of trouble because I like people and I talk to anyone that gives me any chance to do so.

      We finally arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport and debarked to the bus which was taking us to the Holiday Inn Dulles Airport. We ate, told tall stories and went to bed.

      We ate breakfast the next morning and then got on our tour bus! I don't remember our exact itinerary but I was using my camera, of course. I will group the photos, the WWII Memorial is first, of course. There will be 2x2 thumbnails and if you click on the thumbnail a 4x6 picture will come up.

Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3

Photo 4 Photo 5 Photo 6 Photo 7

Photo 8 Photo 9

Other Memorials we visited!

      We got back in the bus and proceeded to tour to some of the other memorials, culminating at Arlington National Cemetery.

      We watched as they did the "Changing of the Guard".

Photo 10 Photo 11 Photo 12 Photo 13

Photo 14 Photo 15 Photo 16 Photo 17 Photo 18

      At the End of the Day, we met in the "Dining Room" of the Inn for our last evening together.

      I'm not there, somebody had to take the picture.

      We went to bed early since we had a very early call the next morning.

      We arrived at the airport very early, went through the usual security necessities and boarded the plane.

      They boarded us first, at least in part, because of the many wheelchairs.

      I did my usual thing and stopped by the cockpit to greet the pilots.

      But they were not there yet, so I gave my card to the stewardess with a smile and went back to my seat.

      Wow, a bit later the Senior Pilot came back, greeted us all and then invited me to come up to the cockpit were he sat me in his "throne" and we talked.

      I gave him my camera and he took a couple pictures.

      I like this one showing an outburst of enthusiasm we all felt at the completion of this wonderful tour.

      I know I speak for the rest when I say to the Honor Flight of Northern California, a heart felt "Thank You".