Local vets to "Return to Nam" on Old Glory Honor Flight
More than 50 years after serving in Vietnam, 50 veterans in Northeast Wisconsin will receive a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to return, under much different circumstances.
"Our mission is to say thank you and there's more than one way to do that," says Old Glory Honor Flight President Drew MacDonald.
"Return to Nam" will be the first ever Old Glory Honor Flight to Vietnam.
Since 2009, Old Glory Honor Flight has transported thousands of veterans, free of charge, to see their memorials in Washington, D.C.
After becoming the first honor flight hub in the country to fly to Pearl Harbor, Vietnam has been on Old Glory's radar.
"People been asking us about the potential of going to Vietnam since the Pearl Harbor trip back in 2012, but there's a lot of ground work to lay and a lot of research to do and investigation and feeling out the vets for what their thoughts are, whether they'd be receptive to the idea," says MacDonald.
Starting June 5, Vietnam veterans can begin the application process, by going to Old Glory Honor Flight's website:
Up to 50 will be selected through a drawing in late summer to go on the two week trip and all expenses will be covered.
The tentative time for the flight is sometime in late February 2019.
"The veterans that we're going to take will need to have served either in country or in the blue water or brown water navy, those guys will know what that means, and the Air Force that flew over Vietnam, but maybe served in Thailand, Cambodia or Laos," says MacDonald.
The flight to Vietnam will be Old Glory Honor Flight's 49th mission as it celebrates its 10th year honoring veterans.
MacDonald expects "Return to Nam" to be a journey of healing and closure.
"They were there, they didn't want to be there, they were drafted, they were sent to a war torn country and lived the worst moments that war has to offer and the idea of going back to a flourishing, successful country that has regained its natural beauty and they can go back there and see what the country has become, is drastically going to help their healing process," says MacDonald.
Old Glory Honor Flight credits its amazing success to continued donations from the community.
The organization is seeking to raise $150,000 for its "Return to Nam" honor flight.