Orvie Umbaugh enjoyed Honor Flight to DC

Orvie Umbaugh
Orvie Umbaugh

~by Joyce Winkelman, Scranton Journal correspondent

At 6:20 am on May 7 at Fort Dodge, Orvie Umbaugh of Scranton felt the lift of the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight as it rose into the sky on its way to Washington, D.C. for a special day of honor, recognition and appreciation from the folks back home for his military service.

Umbaugh, a Korean War four-year veteran, was among the 141 passengers aboard including medical personnel, personal assistants and two other veterans from Greene County. The veterans were from a five-county area: Calhoun, Carroll, Greene, Hamilton and Webster Counties.

Prior to May 7, around 400 people gathered to furnish the veterans an evening meal at the Webster County Fair Grounds. This was an opportunity for the men to meet fellow passengers. Each vet received a courtesy bag with a few personal items, a cap and T-shirt, a DC photo book and dogtags. A DVD of the days events will also be received by mail shortly.

The men were seen off by a multitude of people, 300-to-400 in number including family members, volunteers supporting the flight, adults and children alike. Two fire trucks were there with huge American flags flying from uplifted ladders but were called away before the plane took flight due a fire. A hot breakfast was served to the men during their 2-1/2 hour flight to the Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.

Upon landing, the plane was greeted by fire trucks spraying water from each side making an archway with the American flag flying. The plane and occupants were met and greeted by hundreds of people waiting to be of assistance to those in need. By 11 am the men were on one of three motor coaches, one red, one blue and one white.

The first monument to be seen was the Lincoln – Unbaugh was in awe as to the size of the Lincoln Statue. The Korean War Monument was next and the one Umbaugh was most interested in, having served in that confrontation. It was an indescribable sight and had a great impact on each person’s feelings. Next was the Vietnam Monument and only 45 minutes was allowed to view all three.

The men received a quick lunch aboard the motor coach before viewing the WW II Monument and having a WW II veteran picture taken. Then it was on to Arlington National Cemetery. At 5:10 pm exactly each day, the lowering of the flag takes place followed by the Changing of the Guard. Both ceremonies are heart rending and the history of each is inspiring. Another snack was offered before arriving at the Iwo Jima Monument where a group picture was taken and a short program presented.

The veterans, after a very fast moving day, departed Dulles Airport at 9 pm. Upon arrival back in Fort Dodge, an even larger number of people were waiting to welcome the men home—this is about 11:30 at night. The band was playing and the fire trucks were present with their raised flags. As the veterans descended the plane, people lined up on each side to form a walkway greeting the men. Some were waving miniature flags. An introduction was made for each Vet by name, branch of service, rank and time served.

The first three men off the plane carried folded flags from the caskets of three vets who were scheduled to be on the flight but had passed away. Although the men had experienced a very tiring day, each and every one had a big smile on his while hurrying to meet his family and head home. Each veteran appreciated the efforts of so many people in offering this opportunity for our men who have given so much of themselves for our country, the USA, and all its people.

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