Old Glory Honor Flight Return to Nam is a life changing experience for 52 Vietnam Veterans
by Mary Kunasch
The Old Glory Honor Flight is a program that has taken Veterans on trips back to Washington D.C. to visit the War Memorials and so much more. Veterans have enjoyed the experience and for many it has been life changing. Two years ago the Old Glory Honor Flight Board of Directors thought about and decided on a trip for Vietnam Veterans to go back to Vietnam where they had served in the 1960’s and up to the mid- 1970’s. Old Glory Honor Flight is an all-volunteer organization, and it partnered with the Military Historical Tours for this special event.
The question for Vietnam Veterans would be “Given the chance would you like to return to the country where you served in the war? A war you fought in as young men - you were fortunate enough to come home and where many of your brothers were wounded or killed?” For many the scars run deep and many of the Vietnam Veterans never discuss or share what they witnessed while they were serving.
Once Vietnam Veteran, Keith Hess, Berlin, heard about the trip, he immediately went to his veteran friends, Joe Resop and Paul Cismoski, also from Berlin, and encouraged them to apply. Keith always had a trip back to Vietnam on his bucket list, so there was no hesitation signing up. Denny Williams, Spring Lake, also saw the information released on the news and thought about going but was somewhat apprehensive so he also wanted AJ McCaskey, Wautoma, to sign up.
The Vietnam Veterans were chosen by random from the list of just over 500 applicants. Those eligible for this mission were any military servicemen or women, living in Northeast Wisconsin, that served in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Thailand between February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975. Signing up got more serious as all five of these Vietnam Veterans were chosen to go on the trip. The hesitation for AJ was still lurking, and once their names came up Denny was also a bit hesitant but really thought it would be an experience of a lifetime. The men from Berlin, Keith, Joe, and Paul, were all in and ready to pack, but it took some convincing for Denny to get AJ to give the final go ahead. And yes, Denny finally went from a flip phone to a smart phone so he could communicate with family back in the states.