In addition to being a physician assistant, Earl was also a private pilot and
a member of one of our nation’s largest and best aero clubs located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in
Dayton, Ohio. And things started coming together.
In December of 2004, Earl asked one of his World War II veteran patients if it
would be all right if Earl personally flew him out to D.C., free of charge, to visit his memorial. Mr. Loy
broke down and cried. He told Earl that at his age he would probably never get to see his memorial otherwise,
and graciously accepted the offer.
Earl posed the same question to a second World War II veteran a week later. He
too cried and enthusiastically accepted the trip. It didn’t take long for Earl to realize that there were many
veterans who would have the same reaction. So he started asking for help from other pilots to make these dreams
a reality. In January of 2005, Earl addressed about 150 members of the aero club during a safety meeting,
outlining a volunteer program to fly veterans to their memorial. There were two major stipulations to his
request. The first was that the veterans pay nothing. The entire aircraft rental ($600 to $1200 for the day)
would have to be paid solely by the pilots. The second was that the pilots personally escort the veterans
around D.C. for the entire day.
After Earl spoke, eleven pilots who had never met his patients stepped up to
volunteer. And Honor Flight was born.
Soon other dedicated volunteers joined, a board was formed, funds were raised
and that first flight took to the air in May of 2005. Six small planes flew 12 very happy veterans out to
Manassas, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. Vans then transported the pilots and veterans into D.C.
and to the World War II Memorial. The responses from both the veterans and the pilots were overwhelming. It was
an experience that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Soon other flights were planned and made.
So many veterans wanted to participate that commercial aircraft were used to accommodate forty veterans at a
time, including many in wheelchairs. By the end of the first year, Honor Flight had transported 137 World War
II veterans to their memorial.
In 2006, commercial flights were exclusively used due to the number of
veterans on the waiting list and adverse weather conditions which prohibited small aircraft from participating
on a regular schedule. Locally, another 300 veterans completed the journey during that year.
Word Spread And Honor Air Arrived, Right On Time
The mission and ideals of the program began to spread across
America. Other cities and states became aware of our efforts and we fostered working relationships with
dedicated community leaders in several states.
Jeff Miller in Hendersonville, North Carolina led the expansion into areas not
serviced by direct commercial flights to the Washington, D.C. area. He accomplished what was thought to be
impossible, organizing and obtaining funding to fly an entire commercial jet filled with local area veterans to
visit the monument.
This was the beginning of Henderson County’s Honor Air. On September 23rd and
again on the 24th the US Airways-chartered jet was filled with World War II veterans and their guardians. Jeff
repeated his success on November 4th of 2006. In less than three months, HonorAir had flown over 300 World War
II veterans to D.C.!
Jeff quickly shared his expertise with others, who started HonorAir programs
in several other areas of the country. By the end of 2006, 891 World War II veterans across America realized
their dream of visiting their memorial.
We are proud to say that (1) all of our heroes had a safe
and memorable trip and (2) we were able to raise sufficient funds so that every veteran flew absolutely
The First to Charter, the First to Finish...
24 Spetember 2007, Honor Air out of Hendersonville, NC and Henderson County,
NC were the first city and the first county in the nation to fly 100% of their WWII veterans to their
Southwest Airlines "Grab your bag...It's On"
In May 2008, Southwest Airlines stepped up by donating thousands of free
tickets, and was named the official commercial carrier of the Honor Flight Network in a joint press
release. (From BassHogfishing.com, Do Remember
Southwest next time you fly to say Thank You)
It is because of this generous donation that the Honor Flight Network
undoubtedly now has more flexibility, more opportunity and are now more than ever able to serve more
veterans on our "anxiously waiting list" than would have been possible give the economy and the decrease in
The Future of Honor Flight… Help Us Meet Our Goal
The future looks bright for our country's World War II
veterans. In February of 2006, Earl and Jeff combined efforts and co-founded Honor Flight Network. The
leaders of various flying programs, and others interested in starting similar projects in their own
regions, attended a summit in Washington, D.C. with over 100 people in attendance. Now a network of
participating programs is in place to assist our senior heroes. Resources are pooled, experience is shared
and alliances are formed throughout America to get World War II veterans to their precious memorial
Honor Flight Network has established an aggressive goal for 2009 — we want to transport 25,000 veterans
from across the United States to the World War II Memorial. The program presently has 71 hubs in 30 states.
By the end of 2009, Honor Flight Network hopes to have a hub in all 50 states. Due to the senior age of our
heroes, and the prediction that we are losing approximately 1,000 of them daily, we are committed to do all
within our power to make their dream a reality. Our current focus will remain on World War II veterans and
those veterans from any war who have a terminal illness. However, our vision goes beyond World War
Honoring All Our Veterans
In the future, Honor Flight Network will also pay tribute to America's other heroes who served during the Korean and
Vietnam Wars, followed by veterans of more current wars. They, too, have given so much and it's time we show
them that their efforts are not forgotten.
Honor Flight Network has learned a lot over these last four years and one
point that stands out is that our veteran heroes aren't asking for recognition.
It is our position that they deserve recognition. Our program is just a small
token of our appreciation for those that gave so much.
Please help us continue to make their dream of visiting THEIR memorial, a
HONOR FLIGHT NETWORK — our way of saying to all our veterans — one more TOUR with
Consider The Following:
In our first year, 2005, HFN safely transported 137 veterans to see THEIR
memorials, at no cost to the veterans.
In our second year, 2006, HFN safely transported 891 veterans to see THEIR
memorials, at no cost to the veterans.
In our third year, 2007, HFN safely transported over 5,000 veterans to see
THEIR memorials, at no cost to the veterans.
In our fourth year, 2008, HFN safely transported 11,137 veterans to see THEIR
memorials, at no
cost to the veterans.
And in 2009, HFN safely transported 17,832 veterans to see THEIR memorials,
at no cost to
With the continued support of grateful Americans, by the end of the 2009
flying season in November, HFN transported more than 35,996 veterans of World War II, Korea and
Viet Nam to see the memorials built to honor their suffering and sacrifice to keep this great nation free and a
If you would like to find out more, visit HONOR FLIGHT at www.honorflight.com.
They could really use the help with this honorable mission established to say
Thanks Soldiers For Keeping Us Free and Out Of Harm's Way Here At Home.