Oct. 18 was a day to be celebrated, as Honor Flight Arizona flew on their 60th mission out of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. It was the last flight to include only WWII Veterans.
Honor Flight Arizona took its first flight with 11 WWII veterans November 2009, the first Honor Flight from west of the Mississippi. Since then, Honor Flight Arizona has flown more than 1,600 WWII Veterans, in excess of 1,000 guardians, and has amassed a volunteer base of nearly 100 active volunteers.
In addition to this trip being the last all-WWII veteran flight, the trip will also include nine women from the American Rosie the Riveter Association. “Rosie the Riveters” represent the American women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies.
Beginning with the Nov. 1 flight, Honor Flight Arizona will begin including Korean Veterans. There are already approximately 350 Korean veterans on the waiting list. However, should a WWII veteran apply to take his or her Honor Flight, they will be given priority.
Southwest Airlines is a major sponsor and Honor Flight thanks Southwest employees; they always make sure everything is ready for the veterans and quickly get them checked in. In addition, TSA employees respectfully process the vets through security (since some of them have not flown since WWII).
“We are thrilled to have been able to fly so many WWII Veterans to Washington, D.C. to see their memorial, said Susan Howe, Honor Flight Arizona founder. “Now that we will be including Korean veterans on our trips, we will be able to pay homage to another group of deserving men and women.”