• A veteran arrives for the pre-flight dinner at the Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee banquet hall on East Kimberly Road Sept. 19. The dinner was part of the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities' itinerary which included flying 90 veterans, along with 37 Gold Star family members, and others to Washington, D.C., in a one-day trip to visit war memorials and attend a ceremony on Sept. 20. (Photo by Jackie Hoggins, ASC Public Affairs)

    A veteran arrives for the pre-flight dinner at...

    A veteran arrives for the pre-flight dinner at the Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee banquet hall on East Kimberly Road Sept. 19. The dinner was part of the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities' itinerary which included flying 90 veterans, along with 37 Gold Star...

  • Ninety World War II and Korean War veterans, along with 37 Gold Star family members, mingle before dinner Sept. 19 at the Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee banquet hall on East Kimberly Road. (Photo by Capt. Johnathon Knapton, ASC Public Affairs)

    Ninety World War II and Korean War veterans...

    Ninety World War II and Korean War veterans, along with 37 Gold Star family members, mingle before dinner Sept. 19 at the Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee banquet hall on East Kimberly Road. (Photo by Capt. Johnathon Knapton, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, shares a laugh with a veteran. (Photo by Johnathon Knapton, ASC Public Affairs)

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army...

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, shares a laugh with a veteran. (Photo by Johnathon Knapton, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, addresses dinner attendees Sept. 19 at the Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee banquet hall on East Kimberly Road. (Photo by Capt. Johnathon Knapton, ASC Public Affairs)

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army...

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, addresses dinner attendees Sept. 19 at the Davenport, Iowa, Hy-Vee banquet hall on East Kimberly Road. (Photo by Capt. Johnathon Knapton, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Veterans listen to a speech given by Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, Sept. 19 during a dinner prior to their flight to Washington, D.C., the next day. (Photo by Capt. Johnathon Knapton, ASC Public Affairs)

    Veterans listen to a speech given by Command...

    Veterans listen to a speech given by Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, Sept. 19 during a dinner prior to their flight to Washington, D.C., the next day. (Photo by Capt. Johnathon Knapton, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, shares a moment with a veteran at the dinner. (Photo by Capt. Johnathon Knapton, ASC Public Affairs)

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army...

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, shares a moment with a veteran at the dinner. (Photo by Capt. Johnathon Knapton, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Sgt. Maj. Keith Jones, Army Sustainment Command Operations, bids farewell to a veteran early Sept. 20 at the Quad City International Airport. (Photo by Bonnie Seals, ASC Public Affairs)

    Sgt. Maj. Keith Jones, Army Sustainment Command...

    Sgt. Maj. Keith Jones, Army Sustainment Command Operations, bids farewell to a veteran early Sept. 20 at the Quad City International Airport. (Photo by Bonnie Seals, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Sgt. Maj. Duane Strong, Army Sustainment Command Distribution Management Center, bids farewell to a veteran early Sept. 20. (Photo by Bonnie Seals, ASC Public Affairs)

    Sgt. Maj. Duane Strong, Army Sustainment...

    Sgt. Maj. Duane Strong, Army Sustainment Command Distribution Management Center, bids farewell to a veteran early Sept. 20. (Photo by Bonnie Seals, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Annie Cox (right), and Jane Cox (second from right), along with other Gold Star family members, pose at the Quad City International Airport prior to the departure to Washington, D.C. (Photo by Bonnie Seals, ASC Public Affairs)

    Annie Cox (right), and Jane Cox (second from...

    Annie Cox (right), and Jane Cox (second from right), along with other Gold Star family members, pose at the Quad City International Airport prior to the departure to Washington, D.C. (Photo by Bonnie Seals, ASC Public Affairs)

  • A hero's welcome greets returning veterans and Gold Star family members at the Quad City International Airport after their day-long trip to the nation's capital.  (Photo by Galen Putnam, ASC Public Affairs)

    A hero's welcome greets returning veterans and...

    A hero's welcome greets returning veterans and Gold Star family members at the Quad City International Airport after their day-long trip to the nation's capital. (Photo by Galen Putnam, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, greets returning veterans. (Photo by Galen Putnam, ASC Public Affairs)

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army...

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, greets returning veterans. (Photo by Galen Putnam, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, welcomes back a veteran. (Photo by Galen Putnam, ASC Public Affairs)

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army...

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, welcomes back a veteran. (Photo by Galen Putnam, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, enjoys a laugh with Army retiree William Lundy. (Photo by Galen Putnam, ASC Public Affairs)

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army...

    Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, Army Sustainment Command, enjoys a laugh with Army retiree William Lundy. (Photo by Galen Putnam, ASC Public Affairs)

  • Bagpiper Derek Grant plays a tune as the veterans arrived at the Quad City International Airport around 10 pm. Sept. 20. Grant is a familiar face at the airport as he plays at all the returning honor flights. (Photo by Galen Putnam, ASC Public Affairs)

    Bagpiper Derek Grant plays a tune as the...

    Bagpiper Derek Grant plays a tune as the veterans arrived at the Quad City International Airport around 10 pm. Sept. 20. Grant is a familiar face at the airport as he plays at all the returning honor flights. (Photo by Galen Putnam, ASC Public Affairs)

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. -- Just like before, they left proud and came back heroes.

Ninety-two Iowa-Illinois World War II- and Korean War-era veterans flew to Washington, D.C, toured the capital area and its war memorials, and then returned back to a hero's welcome at the Quad City International Airport.

The veterans and retirees were escorted by "guardians," of whom 37 out of 90 were Gold Star family members. This was the first time that Gold Star family members served as guardians for the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities, a local organization heading up trips for veterans to visit Washington, D.C.

On Sept. 19, the former military personnel were honored with a dinner at the Hy-Vee banquet hall on East Kimberly Road in Davenport, Iowa.

Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer of the Army Sustainment Command, Rock Island, Ill., served as the guest speaker. Other ASC personnel were present, including Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Chuck Rizer.

On Sept. 20, the veterans flew out around 7 a.m. to Washington, D.C., and returned about 10 p.m. Many ASC personnel there, just like during the send-off, lining the corridor to the baggage claim area with cheers and handshakes.

While in the nation's capital, the veterans visited the Korean War Memorial, World War Il Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

Annie Cox, Gold Star wife of Staff Sgt. Nathan Cox, and his mother, Jane Cox, placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during a ceremony at Arlington to commemorate the fourth anniversary of his death.

Cox was killed in action the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, Sept. 20.

"Although the day was emotional and rewarding, I felt like Nathan was with me and his mom. I watched the veterans shed a few tears and release some of their own ghosts," Annie Cox said.

"What an honor to represent Gold Star families and Army spouses. It was just an amazing, humbling experience. I could not think of a better way to honor Nate's memory on the anniversary of his death."

To date, this was the 20th trip by the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities, with several more planned next year. Hy-Vee, a grocery chain in the area, will sponsor an honor flight scheduled for Nov. 8.

(Jackie Hoggins, Army Sustainment Command Public Affairs, contributed to this article.)

Page last updated Fri September 21st, 2012 at 00:00