Veterans

April 5, 2013

Giving back to those who served

Tags:
Airman 1st Class Christine Griffiths
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force retired WWII veteran Mr. Thomas Perrow and U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Sammie Ervan, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron pose for a photo while being welcomed home at the Tucson International Airport March 28. Both Perrow and Ervan participated in Honor Flight Southern Arizona where they toured national monuments of wars they fought in around the Washington D.C. area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christine Griffiths)

Two Airmen from the Desert Lightning Team shared the Washington D.C. experience with veterans from the Tucson community through Honor Flight Southern Arizona March 26-29.

Twenty-seven veterans and guardians got to see The World War II, Vietnam, Lincoln, Korean, Women’s and Air Force Memorials as well as Arlington National Cemetery through Honor Flight Southern Arizona.

Honor Flight Southern Arizona is one of hundreds of centers throughout the U.S. The non-profit organization is made possible through the many volunteers who give through either volunteering or donating.

Senior Airman Sammie Ervan, 355th Logistics Readiness Squadron base support planning manager, and Tech. Sgt. Darren Firth, 355th Operation Support Squadron non commissioned officer in charge of air traffic control training and standardization, were selected by their leadership to take part in guiding a U.S. military veteran through the nation’s capitol.

“Guardians” are assigned one or two veterans.Their responsibilities are to escort them throughout the trip, as well as make sure he or she wakes up at a proper time, takes their medication and stays hydrated throughout the day. Both Ervan and Firth went through mandatory, essential training prior to the excursion.

“The training went over what the trip’s going to be like and what to expect,” Ervan said. “We also went over what should be done if something were to happen in an emergency situation. The veteran I’m guardian of is in a wheelchair. So, I had to learn how to set him in a wheelchair and the proper way to push him. With older people, they can injure themselves by just sitting a certain way in the wheelchair, so this ensures that they don’t get hurt.”
The veterans Ervan and Firth escorted shared many stories, but one story stood out.

“Mr. Jones, the veteran I escorted, was captured as a Prisoner of War for 23 months,” Firth said. “He was a tail gunner who was shot over the Baltic during WWII. He explained that he floated towards the land for a while and the Polish picked him up. About the time they got to land the Germans were waiting and they captured them. When they started breaking up the camps; Jones marched 600 miles over two and a half months in the winter to be liberated.”

Ervan and Firth said they both learned more than expected and would like to be involved with Honor Flight again.

“The whole trip was way better than I expected,” Ervan said. “The things I learned, the looks on the veteran’s faces when we got to the WWII Memorial were just breathe taking.”

Both Ervan and Firth would recommend anyone, especially active duty, be part of an Honor Flight if given the opportunity.

“I think it’s great for active duty, because many of us don’t fully appreciate and realize what they did,” said Firth. “I thought it was a once in a lifetime experience. And honestly, it was more than I expected. It kind of touches your heart seeing people at the terminals at the airport standing up clapping for the veterans. And 13-year-old kids coming up and shaking their hands, it’s pretty moving.”

For more information or to volunteer with HFT, visit them at http://www.honorflightsaz.org. or Airmen can contact their First Sergeant.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Racheal E. Watson)

Living the American Dream

SOUTHWEST ASIA — On Christmas day in 1991, the Soviet flag flew over the Kremlin in Moscow for the last time. People across the country took what jobs they could find, getting paid a fraction of what they made before as...
 
 

AFSOUTH Airmen visit orphans

(U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Heather R. Redman) Staff Sgt. Katie Adams, Master Sgt. Roberto Vasquez and Capt. Sarah Hartenstein, all members of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), take a group photo with the children at Casa de Corderitos orphanage outside the city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, June 18. The 12th Air Force (AFSOUTH) members...
 
 

AF begins enlisted PME enrollment notifications

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Last week, the Air Force Personnel Center initiated a phased approach to notify approximately 83,000 Airmen of the requirement to enroll in the applicable enlisted professional military education distance learning course. AFPC will notify 20,000 Airmen at the beginning of each month until all members have been notified....
 

 
Congeniality_pict

More than just Ms. Congeniality: Airman competes for homeless female veterans

For Tech. Sgt. Charmaine Pozo, the Ms. Veteran America contest was not about glamourous pageantry. It was about tireless advocacy – for a minimally acknowledged segment of those who have served in uniform: homeless female...
 
 

Enlisted evaluation, promotion systems updated

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — With static closeout dates for each rank in place, the Air Force announced it will update the enlisted performance report forms and utilize new forced distribution and senior rater stratification restrictions to round out the incremental changes to enlisted evaluation and promotion systems with performance as the driving factor in promotions. For...
 
 

Don’t throw a fit — get fit

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — It’s a controversial topic that has been brought up by many Airmen — changing the abdominal circumference standards on the Air Force fitness assessment test. After months of debate, it was decided by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III that the standards will stay the same....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>