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.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force illustration/Senior Airman Micaiah Anthony)

AF begins testing phase for women in combat roles

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — In April 2015, the Air Force will begin conducting the physical evaluations required to explore opening the last six career fields currently closed to women. When the law prohibiting women in ground co...
 
 
DoD

New tuition assistance tool attuned to troops’ educational needs

WASHINGTON – The Defense Department continues to invest in its service members and has introduced a new online informational tool tailored to their unique school programs and educational needs, the Defense Department’s chief of voluntary education said in a DoD news interview this week. Dawn Bilodeau discussed a new online tool called “Tuition Assistance DECIDE.”...
 
 

D-M Airmen freefall into the blue

BUCKEYE, Ariz. — You’re standing in an open door of an aircraft soaring 12,000 feet above the ground. You have put your full trust into the person strapped to your back, who you’ve known for less than two hours, to bring you back down to Earth safe and sound. The count begins. “Out…in…out.” The floor of the...
 

 

Enlisted members selected for promotion to get EPR on “select” grade closeout date

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — In line with a recent update to the Air Force policy on enlisted performance report static closeout dates (SCOD), effective immediately, all future EPRs for promotion-selectees will close out on the date of the promotion-select grade. At the direction of Headquarters Air Force, Airmen promoted to technical sergeant...
 
 
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by 2nd Lt. Lacey Roberts)

First Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event a success

The 162nd Wing’s Air Wing Integrator hosted her first Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event on April 10 at the Hilton Garden Inn Tucson International Airport. Christina Desiato began working here last September with a pur...
 
 

Make time to mentor your Airmen

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, AZ — The Air Force is comprised of Airmen with many skills and talents. The backbone to our continued success is our men and women who strive to be excellent on a daily basis. However, there are times when our focus is derailed by our own personal and professional guidelines. I was taught...
 




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