Veterans

October 31, 2013

D-M Airman takes a trip with Honor Flight

Tags:
Airman 1st Class B. Chevalier
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
HonorFlight_pict
Staff Sgt. David Wilcken, 612th Air and Space Operations Center air tasking order production technician, and Robert Yeschek, a World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veteran, pose at the World War II memorial in Washington D.C., Oct. 7. Wilcken flew with Yeschek during Honor Flight to be his guardian for the duration of the trip

An Airman was sponsored to escort a World War II veteran on Honor Flight, Oct. 6-8, 2013.

Staff Sgt. David Wilcken, 612th Air and Space Operations Center air tasking order production technician, was the guardian for Robert Yeschek, a World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veteran, who traveled to Washington D.C. with 76 other southern Arizona veterans and their guardians.

Honor Flight is an organization that pays for World War II veterans to travel to Washington D.C.to visit the World War II memorial. The inspiration behind this trip came from Earl Morse, a retired Air Force Captain, while he was working at the VA Hospital. Many of his patients did not know that the National World War II Memorial was built and later dedicated in 2004. The first Honor Flight took place in May 2005. Each veteran is assigned a guardian that assists and takes care of them throughout the duration of the trip.

The Desert Lightning Team Top 3, an organization composed of the top three enlisted ranks, wanted to get more involved in Honor Flight by sponsoring a guardian for a World War II veteran, but they wanted to make sure they had the right guardian for the veteran.

“Over two days we interviewed 26 members across D-M,” said Master Sgt. Kristi Tellier, DLT Top 3 vice president. “Staff Sgt. Wilcken was chosen because he has a personal connection with World War II veterans since he had two grandfathers that served. We were impressed by his enthusiasm and genuine interest in honoring these heroes.”

During the government shutdown, some of the memorials the Honor Flight would normally visit were closed, but the veterans were still allowed to visit the World War II memorial.

“As soon as we showed up and they saw us unloading the veterans, the park rangers actually moved the barricades out of the way,” said Wilcken. “They welcomed every one of them in. They shook their hands and took pictures with them. We had free range of the memorial.”

Some of the memorials the Honor Flight would normally visit were closed though. Aside from the World War II memorial, the veterans also visited the Women’s Military History Museum, the Newseum and were scheduled to visit Arlington National Cemetery.

“When we were supposed to go to Arlington National Cemetery, it rained,” Wilcken said. “It was monsoon type rain, so we took them to museum.”

The whole plane was full of veterans, guardians and a news crew, all from southern Arizona. During the flight back, there was one final surprise for the veterans.

“On the flight back, we had a mail call,” Wilcken said.

Guardians and team leaders collected letters from the veteran’s families and schools from around the Tucson area.

“We made a package for them and surprised them with it,” Wilcken said. “There was not a dry eye on the plane, and that was funny to me because I didn’t see anybody cry at the memorial.”

Wilcken was honored to be part of this trip.

“It was the coolest experience I’ve ever had,” Wilcken said. “Those guys are probably the most humble generation out there. Just hearing their stories and getting to know them was really great. I really enjoyed it.”




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


 
 

 

Guard Muster brings Arizona together

(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Brian A. Barbour) Arizona National Guard Soldiers from the 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade stand in formation on the field at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium, Dec. 7 in Tempe. The formation, which was part of the Arizona National Guard Muster and Community Expo, was the first...
 
 
NORAD_pict

NORAD prepares to track Santa’s flight

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) — The North American Aerospace Defense Command’s NORAD Tracks Santa website, http://www.noradsanta.org, launched Dec. 1, featuring a mobile version, a holiday countdown, new games a...
 
 

Air Force not planning Involuntary Force Reductions in 2015

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. – The modern Air Force is “feeling some strain” recently, due to its shrinking size and high operations tempo, but there won’t be any more involuntary force-shaping in 2015, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said today. James said she and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark...
 

 

Local Briefs December 19, 2014

NARFE chapter 55 to meet January 12, 11 a.m. – Golden Corral The National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) Association, Chapter 55, will hold their next monthly luncheon meeting on Monday January 12, 2015 at the Golden Corral, 4380 East 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711.  The luncheon starts at 11 a.m. and ends about...
 
 

New Commander addresses Airmen of 12th Air Force

To all of the 12th Air Force Community, Happy Holidays! My wife Kristan, my three children, and I are excited to join this outstanding 12th AF community.  I cannot adequately express how honored and humbled I feel to join this community as the Commander.   I certainly appreciate the exceptional efforts of General and Mrs....
 
 
(AFSOUTH)

New commander to take reins of 12th AF, AFSOUTH

Twelfth Air Force and Air Forces Southern will welcome a new commander during a change of command ceremony Dec. 19 at 10 a.m. at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Major Gen. Chris Nowland will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant ...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin