WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans honored with ‘trip of a lifetime’

20 local veterans bound for Washington D.C. onboard Honor Flight

Honor Flight San Antonio is a nonprofit organization who says their mission is to take every willing and able hero to see the memorials in the nation’s capital.

SAN ANTONIO – The sounds of bag pipes filled the terminals at the San Antonio International Airport this morning. Twenty of our country’s finest and bravest men were packed and ready to fly out, their destination…Washington D.C.

“Well, I think it’s going to be a hell of a trip to tell you the truth, I’ve never been to that part of the country,” Louie Martinez, USMC, Vietnam veteran said.

The group is made up of World War II, Korean War and Vietnam veterans who will visit the nation’s capital for the very first time.

“It’s a once in a lifetime, I never would have dreamed to go to Washington,” Edward H. Cook, USN, Vietnam veteran said.

The heroes will have the opportunity to visit war memorials designated to them.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the Vietnam wall and the other walls too,“ Cook said.

Although it is a trip of a lifetime, it is not all joy and excitement. The heroes remember friends who were killed in action.

Despite different generations, different wars, their experiences all fill one flight. They’ve fulfilled their call to duty, as the veterans still have an unwavering amount of honor, courage and commitment.

The oldest veteran is 97-years-old. The youngest, is 72-years-old. Among the group, there are five Purple Heart recipients.

“I may be old, but I’ll still fight,” Cook said.

Honor Flight San Antonio is a nonprofit volunteer organization makes the flight possible. They say their mission is to take every willing and able hero to see the memorials in the nation’s capital.

The organization says the three-day trip is a way of saying thank you, to everyone who has served our country.

The honor flight is set to return Saturday, May 21 where the veterans will be greeted with a welcome home ceremony that will involve the County Line Community Band and 81 airmen from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The veterans are accompanied by guardians, who form part of Honor Flight San Antonio.

To learn more on how to volunteer or serve as a guardian, click here.

About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.