Veterans flown to war memorials on Talons Out Honor Flight

Posted at 12:04 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 12:04:42-04

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Up to three times a year, the Talons Out Honor Flight Michigan Chapter sends Korean War, WWII and Vietnam Veterans for a free trip to see the war memorials in Washington D.C.

Over the weekend they sent their 1000th  veteran to the nation's capitol.

At almost 4 a.m. more than 80 veterans streamed into the Kalamazoo airport for a trip of a lifetime on Saturday.

Don Brett served in the Korean War and talked with FOX 17 just ahead of the trip.

"It's been great," said Brett. "I hear a lot of good things about and I'm sure the trip will be just as good if not better than the anticipation."

The veterans settled in for the one hour and a half flight to see the memorials. Many of them made the trip for the first time.

Pat and Al Sarquiz both served in the Korean War and reflected about their time serving during that time.

"Well it was very sobering for me. As I look at this wall here I can almost see some of the buddies that I serve with even though I didn't see combat in Korea I can almost see buddies that I served with. They are all so young."

Since 2013, the organization has made 14 trips to D.C.

100-year-old Julius Gimesky served in WWII and told our Candese Charles that he was moved by the weekend trip to the war memorials.

"It's quite a memorial," said Gimeskey "They were coming every year and I didn't go so I thought I'd would go."

His unit was the first to go up after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Gimesky's son also accompanied him on the trip and said it brought back memories for his father.

"I"m really thrilled that not just my dad, but all of these veterans are getting the kind of recognition and appreciation that they're definitely do. I know personally for my dad, I think, it's been overwhelming, " said Jim Gimesky. "He's a modest man, who keeps a lot of thoughts to himself. But, sharing some of the experiences he's had today with other fellow veterans I think has really helped him."

Staff members said they will continue to do these trips for as long as they can.

It's just an experience that is hard to describe until you've been here," said Bobbie Bradley, a staffer with the Talons Out Honor Flight Michigan.

The next flight to Washington D.C. is scheduled for October 27th. For more information click here.