Puget Sound Honor Flight
Puget Sound Honor Flight’s mission is to transport Western Washington war veterans to Washington D.C., to visit and reflect at memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.
In March of 2013 a varied group of Puget Sound area individuals, who realized they all had passion for the same cause, came together to create Puget Sound Honor Flight. With the help of the Corporate office, along with countless hours of support, advice and guidance from our sister hub, Inland Northwest Honor Flight and Honor Flight Chicago, they put in motion an inaugural trip seven short months after starting up. With over 200 WWII veterans already on an wait list of Western Washington residents, Puget Sound Honor Flight committed to giving these heroes their “One Last Mission”. At the end of their 2019 travel season, PSHF has taken over 1,400 veterans to Washington, D.C.
The National Honor Flight Network
The Honor Flight Network program was conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force Captain. Earl, who was working at a VA clinic in Ohio in May 2004, when the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. was completed, repeatedly asked his veteran patients if they would ever travel to visit their memorial. Unfortunately, for most of these heroes now in their late 80’s and early 90’s, it simply wasn’t financially or physically possible for them to make the journey on their own.
That’s when Earl decided to do something to help. In addition to being a physician assistant, he was also a private pilot. In December of 2004, Earl asked two of his World War II veteran patients if they would allow him to personally fly them out to D.C., free of charge, to visit the memorial. They broke down, cried and graciously accepted the offer. Earl then realized that there were many more veterans who would have the same reaction. He began to ask for help from other pilots to make these dreams a reality, with two stipulations to his request. The first was that the veterans pay nothing. The second was that the pilots personally escort the veterans around D.C. for the entire day. Eleven pilots who had never met his patients stepped up to volunteer.
In May of 2005, six small planes flew 12 very happy veterans out to the World War II Memorial. The responses from both the veterans and the pilots were overwhelming. By the end of the first year, the first Honor Flight hub had transported 137 World War II veterans to their memorial.
The mission and ideals of the program began to spread across America, and in 2005, Honor Flight Network was born. 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. Today, we continue working aggressively to expand our programs to other cities across the nation.
Through the end of 2019, Honor Flight Network has transported more than 222,133 veterans to Washington, D.C. to see their memorial. The program presently has 130 hubs serving 45 states. Our current focus is WWII and Korean War veterans, but our program has expanded to include our Vietnam War veterans as well. Giving all these veterans their well-deserved and much awaited thank you shows them that their service and sacrifice are appreciated and never forgotten.