In The News

Local Veterans Take Honor Flight to Nation's Capital

3rd ID Combat Brigade
by Sgt. William Begley

POOLER, Ga. – Leaders from the 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield Garrison, and 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade gathered to honor America's veterans by wishing them farewell from the 165th Airlift Wing, Georgia Air National Guard, on an Honor Flight bus ride to visit memorials built to honor their service and sacrifice, Sept. 5...

The 3rd Infantry Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Mike Murray, was on-hand to show support and listen to stories of the veterans before bidding them farewell. Murray commented on why it is important to honor these veterans.

"Number one, it's fun. I get a chance to come talk to some World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans," Murray said. "Number two, I think the least we can do is come over and send them off for what should be a great trip for them."

Murray said this is the first time a lot of these veterans have had to visit the monuments that were erected in their honor.

Savannah, Ga., native Joe Leonard was one of the veterans taking advantage of the service the Honor Flight provides. Leonard served in the Pacific during World War II and ended his service to his country at the rank of corporal. He spent 25 months on New Guinea and Yokohama.

"This is my first time seeing the memorial and I'm excited," Leonard said.

As the memories came back to him, Leonard became emotional.
"I lost a lot of friends during World War II. This trip has got me thinking about them," Leonard said.

Sanford Maxson was drafted into Army service out of Cleveland, Ohio, during the Korean War. He spoke about the difference of an all-volunteer military of today versus the draftees of past conflicts.

"I never thought twice about serving when I received my draft notice," Maxson said. "It's important to honor these folks who served their country because a lot of them were drafted. These guys served, they came home, and they continued with their lives."

The veterans visited for almost an hour with various members of the Armed Forces, and other veterans before loading onto the bus to leave.

After seeing the bus full of veterans off, Murray commented on the experience.

"It's a very small token of appreciation that we can give them for the sacrifices they made for you and me so that we can live the life we're living today," Murray said.