By Sgt. William BegleyMay 21, 2014
POOLER, Ga. - Leaders from 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield Garrison, and 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade gathered to honor America's veterans wishing them farewell from the 165th Airlift Wing, Georgia Air National Guard on an Honor Flight to visit memorials built to honor their service and sacrifice on Friday May 16.
The 3rd Infantry Division command team of Maj. Gen. Mike Murray, and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Gilpin, was on hand to show support of the veterans before sending them on their way to our nation's capital.
"It's important to me that we understand our roots as an Army," said Murray. "Those three generations, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, really gave us our legacy, and I believe we owe them thanks. Not just as a Soldier, but as an American."
David Corbett was one of those veterans, who originally joined the Air Force in 1948 after the service transitioned from its beginnings as the Army Air Corps. The 85-year-old served as an interpreter in the prisoner of war camps during the Korean War, and also served in the Vietnam War. After retiring as a Senior Master Sergeant, Corbett taught history for 25 years.
"This is exciting. I wasn't aware of how many people were coming so this is going to be great," said Corbett.
The veterans shared experiences with Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines for almost an hour before loading onto the bus to leave. The different generations shared a common bond.
"We laughed as we exchanged stories of what military life was like in their time and they, in return, love hearing what military life is like today," said Col. John D. Kline, commander, 3rd CAB. "Those who fought and served in World War II, The Korean War, and Vietnam War are heroes to those of us still serving. I'm always honored and humbled to spend time with them."
The Honor Flight Network exists for the sole purpose of providing the opportunity to visit these memorials at no cost to the veteran. According to Chief Warrant Officer 5 George Kelly, command chief warrant officer, 3rd CAB, it is a service that is very important.
"To be blunt, it is important that we honor our World War II veterans because we're losing them by the thousands every year," said Kelly. "Each one set aside everything to serve the greater good. That kind of personal commitment to our nation is worth commemorating, and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to thank them for their service and their sacrifice."