On May 29, 2004, President Bush dedicated the World War II Memorial to honor "The Greatest Generation," 59 years after the end of WWII. One year later, the Honor Flight Program was inaugurated.
Earl Morse and Jeff Miller, co-founders of Honor Flight, realized that many World War II veterans would never have the opportunity to visit the memorial that was erected in their honor. Many, due to age or financial resources or knowledge or strength, would not be able to complete a conventional trip to Washington D.C.
But, thanks to their foresight, Honor Flight has now flown over 180,000 veterans to see their memorials. While Honor Flight began as a program solely for World War II veterans, many "hubs" are now taking Korean War, Vietnam War and other conflict veterans to Washington D.C. This trip allows us to honor America's veterans for their service and sacrifice. It is the intention of Honor Flight Long Island to honor as many of our fellow Long Islanders, who helped to preserve our freedom, as we can by providing them a free trip to visit their memorial.
Honor Flight Long Island provides this one-day trip to all WWII, Korean and Vietnam War veterans. Sometime in the future, HFLI will include other conflict veterans, but that time has not yet come. However, we do make an exception for any veteran terminally ill. This veteran, no matter when he/she served, is given our highest priority.
Veterans must complete and submit an application to participate. Applications can be downloaded from the Tab above, filled out, and mailed to address provided. Veterans are then called on a first-come-first-served basis so we encourage all to submit an application. Veterans not able to participate on one flight remain on the list and are called for the next scheduled trip.
Honor Flight Long Island operates on donations from local and regional organizations, businesses and individuals from across Long Island. The flights, deluxe tour bus service, lunch, dinner and tee shirts are FREE to our veterans.
Our volunteer "Guardians" must also complete an application, available above, and must pay their own way, an expense of $400. Guardians escort the veterans on the aircraft, accompany them throughout the day and make sure our veterans have everything they need for a memorable experience.
We schedule our flights in the Spring and the Fall. It's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter! Click on the Flight Tab above or call (631)702-2423
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Anne Kazel-Wilcox
May 14, 2018 firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: 561-313-5612
Honor Flight Long Island Thanks 50 WWII and Korean War Veterans
with Trip to Washington War Memorials
Islip, NY – It was an unforgettable scene at Islip MacArthur Airport this past weekend as teenage U.S. Naval Sea Cadets lined up at 6 a.m. in Honor Guard formation to help send off 50 World War II and Korean War veterans on a memorial trip to Washington DC. The Honor Guard carried the American flag that these veterans had fought so hard to defend, as well as flags representing each service branch of the U.S. military with which the veterans had served – the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. The veterans hailed from villages and towns all over Nassau and Suffolk Counties, with the war stories they shared for this Honor Flight providing a glimpse into the type of honorable duties performed by the 40,000+ veterans that reside on Long Island. The Honor Flight veterans spent the entire day in Washington DC, visiting sites including the World War II and Korean War Memorials, as well as The Women in Military Service for America Memorial, before returning to Islip long after taps would have played. The complimentary trip was a small tribute to those from Long Island that served our nation in war.
“Your country said that it needed you, and you said, ‘Yes, I will go,’” the 50 veterans were told by Bill Jones, the President of Honor Flight Long Island. “You had never been out of your hometown, yet you found yourselves in places you’d never heard of. At a time of your lives when you should have been concerned with simple things…your high school prom, maybe applying to college…maybe settling down and starting a family of your own…you, as ordinary citizens were asked to put on a uniform in service to your country. I thank you for answering the call to duty and the privilege of escorting you to your memorial.”
Jones was joined by 50+ volunteers who served as escorts for each of the veterans. After the morning began with the Naval Sea Cadets’ Honor Guard ceremony (the youths were from the Theodore Roosevelt Division based in East Moriches), the veterans were whisked off on their flight to tour DC sights. Upon return to Islip MacArthur Airport, there was a crowd of more than 200 waiting, and again the Theodore Roosevelt Division Naval Sea Cadets were in formation welcoming the veterans back to Long Island soil, with many a misty eye in the airport.
Some highlights of the service of those on the Honor Flight:
Army Air Force mechanic and gunner Stanley Pollack, of Wading River, served aboard B-29 bombers in the Pacific Theater in WWII. “Flying through anti-aircraft was the most harrowing as the enemy shot shells at us in puffs and flak attacks.”
Navy Yeoman Peter Pascale, of Ridge, was on a ship one-half mile out from the invasion of Iwo Jima and was in range of the USS Indianapolis when it sunk following a secret mission that directly contributed to the end of WWII.
Marine Corps rifleman Emanuel Poretta remembered a “crazy thing” in Korea. He was taking a shower from a truck with hot water. “A red alert sounded, and I found my rifle, helmet and ammo belt. No clothes!” Poretta was left to hand out supplies in his birthday suit.
Richard Cardone of Farmingdale was a Navy Damage Controlman during the Korean War. When a terrible accident happened aboard ship, he saved the lives of two trapped men, carrying the unconscious men to safety. “All my training in the Navy really prepared me for it.”
Edwin Cartoski, of Greenport, served as a WWII Marine Corps pilot. When Admiral Halsey lost three destroyers and 100 aircraft to a typhoon, Cartoski flew Corsairs and Hell Cats from dawn to dusk straight off factory lines to California so they could be shipped to the war zone.
Sgt. Tess Pierce Garber, from Jericho, was a WWII teletype operator in the Marine Signal Corps. Among the secret daily reports she saw from the battlefield was one with terrible news – it carried the name of the only son of her Mom’s friend; he’d been killed in action.
Gennaro Iorio, from Bellmore, was an MD in the US Army Medical Corps in WWII, assigned to hospitals in France and Germany, and he assisted the Chaplain in travels to comfort the injured.
George Israel, of Long Beach, was an executive officer aboard a Navy ship in the Korean War that was caught in a typhoon with 200 mph winds and ship rolls of 53 degrees!
Army veteran Charles Ludrosky, of Wantagh, used a poncho to cover his fox hole as rains poured down upon him on the front lines in the Korean War. He received three Bronze Stars.
Val Marino was a fighter pilot with the Air Force flying daily missions against Russian MIGs in Korea. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for completing an amazing 125 missions and also awarded a Silver Star! He later became a research test pilot, and last year was appointed to a Presidential Advisory Board due to his North Korean experiences.
Robert Anziano of Islip Terrace joined the Navy, having been in a junior Navy program akin to the Naval Sea Cadets. As an instrument technician at a Naval Air Station, he saluted Tyrone Power every morning – a swashbuckling film star who was also in uniform.
Coast Guard veteran William O’Brien, of Massapequa Park, boarded foreign vessels in NY waters and was schooled by the Atomic Energy Commission in the use of radioactive detectors.
The Honor Guard of the Theodore Roosevelt Division of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps includes cadets ages 13 to 18. The cadets train out of the U.S. Coast Guard Station in East Moriches and hail from all over Suffolk County. The Naval Sea Cadet program focuses on developing cadets’ abilities in seamanship, instilling in cadets the virtues of good citizenship, moral principles and public service, and the program inspires young men and women to reach their fullest potential.