Pearl Harbor Honor Flight
Six members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, Chapter 138, are packed and ready to fly out of Pensacola Florida early Sunday morning. The airport manager encouraged us to arrive at four AM. Our heroes said, almost unanimously, “That means three forty-five,” as they remembered the military fifteen minutes before post rule.
Airport personnel have been extremely helpful providing updates on all TSA rules, complete with VIP bags. We went over all the medical requirements for handicapped travel. American Airlines, our air carrier, donated tickets for this flight through their charity arm, Air Compassion for Veterans, and are providing donuts and coffee once we get past the Security Check point. One vet wanted to know if he could bring some sardines.
American Eagle will carry the Pearl Harbor Survivors and their support team to Dallas/Fort Worth airport. From there we will take a wide body jet across the Pacific Ocean to Pearl Harbor, arriving about half past three Sunday afternoon.
Upon our arrival, our veterans, ages 89 to 93, will head for Ford Island to pick up John Sterling (Founder of Pacific Aviation Museum) and Dick Girocco (Pearl Harbor Survivor, VP-24) for a windshield tour of Ford Island. There should be lively conversation about what used to be and where. We will be immersed in living history.
The attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, changed lives forever. Our heroes were there, right in the middle of a terrible beating. Our plans include a visit to the places where they were that morning. Memories will be stirred.
Founder, Holly Shelton and co-organizer, Lt Col Bill Phillips, USAF (ret) as well as the support crew, have worked non-stop to get everything together to make this the trip of a lifetime. Our Navy Survivors, including one Marine, have shared their experiences throughout the Florida panhandle to raise awareness of the importance to “Remember Pearl Harbor – Always be Alert.”
We appreciate the community support from individuals, schools, businesses and charitable organizations. They have opened their hearts and have found this initiative to be a worthwhile endeavor.
The veterans of Pearl Harbor Survivors Assn., Chapter 138, are a part of the ever-dwindling numbers who are able to travel to Pearl for the annual memorial ceremony. This will be their opportunity to honor their comrades and all others who served America during World War II. This will be their chance to say “One Last Goodbye.”
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