ESCANABA – On board the U.P. Honor Flight today are two World War II veterans who were at Omaha Beach during the invasion of Europe.
Raymond Tollefson of L’Anse who know lives in Indian River says he was wounded before he even hit the water. He spent the next two years recovering from his wounds.
Slip Carlson of Faithhorn was involved in three invasions including North Africa and Omaha Beach. At the gathering of the veterans and guardians last night in Escanaba, Carlson told stories about the war and his life in the Upper Peninsula.
Al Gerber of Menominee wore a photo of himself with his brothers at last night’s gathering. He says he is making the trip for his brothers, all who served during World War II.
John Chown of Escanaba is one of the Korean War veterans that is going on the Honor Flight. Although interested in seeing the Korean War Memorial the retired music teacher from the Escanaba High School also wants to see the Vietnam Wall.
“I lost a couple of band students in Vietnam. I would like to see the Vietnam Memorial. And, of course, several of my friends from high school were killed in Korea. I’m looking forward to seeing the monuments,” he said.
Chown’s guardian on the trip is his daughter Amy. She says she wanted to be a part of milestone experience in his life.
“A Facebook post or email or photo or a phone call just doesn’t take the place of actually being with your family. That’s why I’m here. To spend the day with dad and be a part of the experience for him as well as hear some new stories I bet I have never heard,” Amy Chown said.
The veterans are expected to return to the Delta County Airport tonight at about 8:30. Organizer Barb VanRooy says they hope the community will turn out to welcome the vets home as they get off the plane.
A hanger next to the terminal will open at 7 p.m. There will be music and displays until the plane arrives.