JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska --
Nine Airmen of the Alaska Air Guard's 249th Airlift Squadron touched living history - more than 20 World War II and Korean War veterans - as they assisted them at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Oct. 13 for their honor flight to Washington, D.C.
The veterans from various Alaska cities and villages will visit the nation's capital, seeing the memorials erected in their honor for the first time. The flight is the fifth iteration arranged by The Last Frontier Honor Flight program, a regional division of the national organization.
Ron Travis, the president and co-founder of The Last Frontier Honor Flight, noted that getting the group through the airport can be a difficult task but with assistance, it is easier.
"They're a great help," Travis said about the Guardsmen's contributions.
The Guardsmen found connection in the lives of these men and women. Among the elders were an Alaska Territorial Guardsman and a female Nurse Cadet, both of whom served during WWII.
"The story is really about their story," said Lt. Col. Kirk Palmberg, the Air Guard lead.
The veterans, who return to Anchorage on Saturday, Oct. 17, will be met by a reception open to the public at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport at 12 p.m. Groups from the community, including the Anchorage Orchestra, a local ROTC unit, a bagpipe band and Alaska Air Guardsmen are scheduled to welcome the heroes home.
"It's quite a trip - a lot of emotions," Travis said. "There's no downside to this. It's all good."
More photos on 176th Wing Flickr: https://flic.kr/s/aHsknGgNoj