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 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

Arizona Airmen memorialize fallen Iraqi fighter pilot

Members of the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing honored the life and memory of Iraqi Air Force Brig. Gen. Rasid Mohammed Sideeq Hasan during a memorial service here July 7. Hasan died June 24 after his F-16 Fighting Fa...
 
 

Deployed A-10s take to the skies

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano) An aircraft maintainer assigned to the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron inspects the oil levels of an A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft engine during a theater security package deployment to Lask Air Base, Poland, July 13. The U.S. and Polish air forces will conduct training aimed at...
 
 

Airmen leverage TFI concept

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – Thirty-eight service members, including individuals from the 944th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal section, participated in a Battlefield Forensics training course here at the end of June. Together, Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Hunter, 944th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD program manager and Joshua Nason, General Dynamics Information Technology ...
 

 

Celebration and education; Equal Opportunity

  In 1948, Ester Blake became the first enlisted female in the U.S. Air Force, pictures were still black and white, and families gathered around radios for the evening news. Since then, the U.S. Air Force has gone through many changes. The Davis-Monthan Equal Opportunity office specializes in making sure that everyone is treated equally...
 
 
DoD

Final rule puts more teeth into Military Lending Act

  WASHINGTON – The Defense Department today closed loopholes to protect U.S. men and women in uniform from predatory lending practices, President Barack Obama said this morning at the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The heightened level of financial and consumer-rights protection against unscrupulous practices, called the final rule of...
 
 

AF continues to work with DOD, OPM on cybersecurity incident

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force maintains its commitment to protect personal information from cyber threats by continuing efforts with the Defense Department and the Office of Personnel Management to assist those impacted by the recent cyber incident involving federal background investigation data. OPM and an interagency response team, including investigators from the FBI and...
 




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>