Kentucky Vietnam war veteran and J.C. Paul Detachment #1448 Marine Corps League Commandant Greg Sims recently had the privilege of being selected to visit Washington, DC as part of the 2018 Honor Flight Kentucky.
Sims was one of 69 veterans who packed a charter flight from the Bluegrass Airport in Lexington to Regan National Airport in Washington, DC and attended the whirlwind trip through the nation’s capital.
Hundreds of complete strangers cheered the group’s arrival at both airports, including cheerleaders, sororities, cub scouts, boy scouts, girl scouts, and families. Everyone thanked and applauded the veterans.
Kentucky’s Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes was also at the Bluegrass Airport to thank the veterans.
It was a very exciting day, which Sims also described as exhausting. Many emotions and feelings were brought to surface as the veterans visited the various memorials in their honor.
“Every veteran should apply,” said Sims. “It is absolutely mind boggling and awesome. They talk about awe and shock. This is awe and shock in its own right.”
Sims says the attention wasn’t at all like what they received when the war ended.
Forty Marine volunteers surrounded the entire Iwo Jima Memorial while the veterans visited.
At the WWII memorial, supporters dressed in period attire greeted the group and 40’s music was performed by a big band.
The group ate lunch at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial located at the entrance to the Arlington National Cemetery where the group witnessed the changing of the guard, after which the Honor Flight group then placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Williamsburg resident Joe C. Paul was a Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1965. He put himself in danger to cover fire for seven or eight wounded marines, saving their lives while loosing his own. Paul is the Marine for which the Detachment 1448 Marine Corps League was named. Sims searched for his name on The Wall and was able find it. Sims did a rubbing of Paul’s name for a keepsake.
Honor was given to all veterans who did their part in preserving America’s freedom every step along the way on the trip.
There are four groups who sponsor approximately six to eight honor flights each year. Touchstone Energy Cooperatives sponsored the Honor Flight Kentucky’s trip that Sims was able to enjoy.
Honor Flight Kentucky is a way for veterans who might not be able to otherwise get to go to see the memorials can visit before that generation passes away. It is a non-profit charitable chapter whose mission is to fly World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War Veterans to Washington, DC for a one day all expense paid visit to memorials that are dedicated to their service and sacrifices.
Also, Sims mentioned that the J.C. Paul Detachment #1448 Marine Corps League was recently recognized at the Toys for Tots Convention for their first year of success last year in providing Christmas for approximately 1,800 children. He hopes to increase their efforts this year and wants to inform everyone that the donation boxes went out on October 1.
For more information on the national Honor Flight network, visit https://www.honorflight.org/.
For information on J.C. Paul Detachment Toys for Tots program or to learn how you can donate, contact Sims at 606-549-4083. Families and non-profit organizations can register on-line at london-ky.toysfortots.org.