Alamo Honor Flight No. 009 taking WWII Veterans to Washington D.C.

San Antonio vets part of final honor mission to World War II Memorial


SAN ANTONIO – They are members of an aging population: War heroes who earned the nickname the "Greatest Generation" by their battleground actions during World War II.

On Friday, 49 members of this dwindling brotherhood boarded a flight from San Antonio to Washington D.C. for a tour of the World War II Memorial, as well as other military monuments.

"A lot of memories," Navy veteran Stanley Kuenstler said. "A lot of things you like to think about, and things you don't like to think about."

Kuenstler is one of the veterans aboard Alamo Honor Flight No. 009.

"The people were the main thing (you think about)," Kuenstler said.

Fellow veteran Harold Ballard echoed Kuenstler's sentiment.

"You get a bunch of guys like this that have been through the same experiences as you have, it's a fantastic thing," Ballard said.

Alamo Honor Flight is a nonprofit organization, that is part of the Honor Flight Network. The flights are provided free to the veterans, who are accompanied by a group of staff members and volunteers, who donate their time - and pay for their own travel expenses.

"We're just supposed to look out for the vet and see what their needs are," Alamo Honor Flight Guardian Nancy Deckard said. "We're here to help them meet other vets and relocate them, and get acquainted with them again, and see who they can find that they know."

Because the number of WWII Veterans is dwindling, this is scheduled to be the final mission of the Alamo Honor Flight.

"Well, it's very sad, but that's the way things work, and there's no way of avoiding it," Kuenstler said. "You can look around and you can see that time has taken its toll on some of us."

It isn't just WWII veterans who were aboard Friday's final flight to Washington, D.C. Also on the charter flight Sgt. Rambo, an explosive detection and Patrol certified military working dog with the United States Marine Corps.

"Rambo was injured stateside at Cherry Point, NC doing routine proficiency," Lisa Phillips said. Phillips adopted Rambo after he was retired from the USMC, following his injury. Rambo's left front leg was amputated, due to the injury to his shoulder blade. He has a brace and a prosthetic leg. "We are the mascot for Alamo Honor Flight," Phillips said. "This is our third flight."

Although Alamo Honor Flight No. 009 is scheduled to be the final mission out of San Antonio, there are other Honor Flights being planned for the area.

A flight is scheduled for Sept. 28, departing from Austin.

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