Military veterans from four different wars take part in Heroes Flight at NAS Pensacola

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 4:59 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) -About 20 veterans representing all branches of the military were greeted at NAS Pensacola as sailors manned the rails to welcome them for their Heroes Flight.

“From what I heard it sounded like they were up at 6 this morning and it was like a bunch of little kids going to the amusement park,” said Kyle Cozad, President and CEO of the National Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.

The veterans were treated to lunch at the National Naval Aviation Museum where they were able to spend some time with some of the local sailors and share their stories with the next generation.

“I think it’s so important. Almost priceless that these sailors that have just enlisted in the U.S. Navy get to sit down and spend time with our senior veterans that have given so much for our freedom,” said Co-owner of Community Hospice Tim Buttell.

Then those same sailors helped the veterans while they went on a special tour of the museum. They were split into groups based on what war they served in. Veterans from today’s heroes flight fought in the Gulf, Korean, or Vietnam War. There were also two World War II veterans like Army Veteran Thomas Harris Jr who was making his first trip to the museum.

“It’s a great honor and opportunity for me to see things that I’ve seen on tv and read about it,” said Harris. “I’m really interested in seeing the planes on display.”

Some of the veterans were able to learn about what other branches of the military did during some of the wars they fought in while others were able to revisit their own history.

“In the group that I talked to there were at least three who were looking forward to finding the airplane or the helicopter that they flew in,” said Cozad.

More than looking back on their past. Some say they enjoyed spending time with the future of the United States military most of all.

“These guys that are just enlisting. I admire and respect them for doing it. We need more of them to participate as these people are doing,” added Harris.

Community Hospice says this was the second annual Heroes flight and they want to make this annual tradition to thank those who served.