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The Last Nebraska, Vietnam Veteran Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
The Final Flight
(May 1, 2017)

Patriotic Productions (Bill and Evonne Williams) made these flights available to all veterans over several years. They included WW II, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans. I was with the last and largest flight (656 veterans) from Nebraska for Vietnam Vets.

My name is John Achor, and I am a Vietnam Veteran. I culled around 20 images from the batch I took on April 30/May 1, 2017 when I participated in a Vietnam Veteran Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. There are two I copied from the Patriotic Produciton web site/Facebook page.

My thanks to Bill and Evonne for all the work they did to make this and previous trips possible ... and for inspiring volunteers, individuals and corporate sponsors, who contributed time and dollars to make this dream come true.

The over arching image on nearly all the brochures was a gray haired civilian, wearing black rim glasses, looking out the window of an airplane. His reflection is mirrored in that window and if you pay close attention, you see a very young man, with black rimmed specs, and a "steel pot" on his head -- looking in the window. Outside, looking in - back then; Inside, looking out and remembering that young soldier and the pain since then.
Patriotic Productions photo

A pair of images of the check in line, La Vista (NE) Convention Center - Sunday, April 30, 2017  

The Pre Flight Dinner at the convention center on Sunday evening. The speaker's podium is under the middle overhead TV screen.  

My table (number 131) was back a ways.

A man sitting nearby told of transporting Agent Orange barrels on his base. They weren't told anything about the toxic substance. They cut the 55 gallon barrels in half lengthwise. The two halves were converted into BBQ pits. He had his own medical problems, and his son - born after he returned - died around 20 years of age. The young man suffered from several types of cancer; while not proved, it seems likely his Dad's service in Vietnam may well have contributed to his death.

Kay Bosiljevac Schneider spoke about her husband (Bosiljevac), a fighter pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam and was listeed as MIA (missing in action). The military was giving her the run-around and she began a campaign to get information and find out what happened. She did a great job and the military came in second. While I was at Offutt AFB, NE, I flew T-29s with base flight to qualify for flight pay. One of our regular runs was from Offutt to Andrews AFB, MD and back. Kay was authorized military transportation whenever she needed to go to Washington D.C. I had the pleasure of flying a plane to D.C. on one of her trips. I hope I added, in some small measure, to her success.

I did find my way to the table.  

I didn't get in touch with the hotel in time to reserve a room. This was my "bedroom" for Sunday night; foyer of the convention center.

LOGISTICS Bus board boarding began at 2:15 a.m. on Monday (May 1, 2017).
= 4 Airbus A321 aircraft: code named - Red, White, Blue and Uncle Sam
= 4 tour buses per airplane; for a total of 16, color coded to match planes. Red 1, Red 2 (my group), Red 3, Red 4 etc.
This was the largest contingent to travel to Washington (from NE and maybe nationally).
656 vets (655 male and 1 lady), about 50 Guardians (assigned to herd the cats/vets) to lend a hand for anything we needed/forgot etc. A physician was assigned to each bus as well and a backpack of medical equipment including a defibrillator was available on each bus.

Washington, D.C.; a view from the bus in Arlington National Cemetary. My hunch is, when they set aside the area for the cemetary, they had no idea how efficient our nation would become in filling the space.  

Back side of the Lincoln Memorial, Abe is sitting on the opposite side. The man is pinning a Vietnam Veteran lapel pin on eaach of the vets in the Red group. I am standing (near center of image) third step up and the third red shirt from the left.  

From the image above, I look out at the view in front of me. The Reflecting Pool leads to the Washington Memorial. To the left is the Vietnam Memorial.  

This is the Red Shirt contingent on the steps behind the Lincoln Memorial. That feller in the third row, about three from the left (white circle) is me -- I think :-)
Patriotic Productions Photo

On the way to The Wall, I pass The Three Soldiers (The Three Servicemen). These three are representitive of U.S. combat personnel who served in Vietnam; the statues are purposely identifiable as European American (the lead man), African American (right), and Latin American (left).

Leaving the The Three Soldiers statues, the walk way to The Wall is on the left.

A few feet further along, there is an overlook to The Wall. At the apex of the walls (near center of the image), it is easy to see the wall is twice the heigth of men walking by.

Entrance to the World War II Memorial.

The WW II Memorial is laid out in a circle with two entrance points signifiying the two major areas of conflickt. This is the Pacific gateway, and through the arch, the Atlantic entrance is visible.

An example of the state and territory columns which complete the ring linking the two entrances. As you walk the circumference, the columns seem to be in a random sequence -- nearly, but they are based on their date of entry into the union. The man on the left is passing in front of the Indiana column.

An example of the state and territory columns which complete the ring linking the two entrances. As you walk the circumference, the columns seem to be in a random sequence -- nearly, but they are based on their date of entry into the union.

(left above) The Arizona column is shown with a floral wreath in front of the column. (right above) The author poses in front of the Nebraska column.

A view of the WW II Memorial central pool looking toward the Atlantic entrance.

Departing from Washington National Airport, we were met by this group of Zoot Suiters. Remember them from the 1940s? This musical group performs in the D.C. area and meet and greet special flights like ours. Oh, yeah - that's me in the middle of things.

This is the female contingent of the "Zoots" who came to say bon voyage. Me in the middle again - I didn't complain.

Upper level of the Lincoln, NE airport; some lookiing for family members in the audience.

Lower (baggage) level of the Lincoln airport. The exit is on the far wall to the right; outside the "Gauntlet" awaited each of us. They were two to three deep on both sides of the sidewalk; people ranging in age from pre-teens to old folks. About every ten feet, we encountered a member of a motorcycle contingent holding U.S. flags.

The total crowd was estimated to be 3,000 to 6,000 and I think that was spot on. Since our first name was in large letters on our ID tags, everyone welcomed us by name and added "Thank You For Your Service and Welcome Home." I must have shaken the hand of two or three hundred well wishers. I truly feel like I'm home.