Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Medal of Honor Flight on American Airlines LGA-DCA 24 March

March 25th, 2010 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

Yesterday, I was the luckiest guy in the world to meet 30 TRUE American hero’s.  These are the guys who have given their all to our country and were fortunate enough to live and tell about it.  There are roughly 91 living Medal of Honor recipients in the United States today spanning from WWII to present and American Airlines flew 30 of them and their families from NYC to DCA for a tribute and dedication on the 24th and 25th.  I will post their citations daily on the SandGram just as a reminder of what the definition of a “True Hero” is! 

 Steve Blankenship and Toni Russell from American Airlines Veterans Initiative Project, put a lot of time into planning this event and I have to say that I’m extremely proud of American Airlines and their employee’s who donate their free time to fly the planes and man these events!! I wish AA would take more recognition for their part in these type events i.e. Honor flights and SnowBall express.

 The PGR riders escorted their bus into NY’s LaGuardia Airport yesterday morning and I was happy to run into Frankie Bania who put the ride together.  We met in the usual internet way, via a friend on Face book and it’s nice to finally meet in person.  Frankie, you and the boys did an awesome job helping these men out.

 TSA and the Port Authority Police escorted these Gents and their wives to special security lanes set up for them and trust me when I say they didn’t have to remove that beautiful medal from their necks as they went through the Metal detectors like Gen Joe Foss had to do years ago.  They did an awesome job and made their experience a pleasant one.  American employee’s and passengers were at Gate D1 with food and drinks for a brief celebration.  When it came time to board the flight, they called out each man’s name and rank which drew wild applause as they walked the gauntlet of smiling cheering people.  It was a Hero’s welcome and thank you for their service.  

The aircraft was a special 737-800 that has a Military appreciation paint job on the tail.  It’s call sign was MOH1 and ATC allowed our plane to taxi to the front of the line ahead of over 15 other planes.  Water cannons from the fire trucks shot an arc over the plane as it moved down the taxiway. 

The flight was very short, maybe 40 minutes or so and we landed to another water cannon salute followed by a giant crowd of Marines and employee’s to greet them at the gate in DCA.

 A flight of a lifetime, a chance to talk to real hero’s, a memory that will last forever!

 Gents, if you ever read this, please know there are millions out there who understand what you have done for our country and for that, we can never thank you enough!

Semper Fi and God Bless,

Taco

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