MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Marines from Marine Corps Base Quantico participated in an Honor Flight tour beginning at the Reagan National Airport on April 25, 2014.
Fifteen veterans from World War II and the Korean conflict, flying in from Austin, Texas, found seven volunteers, five of them Marines, waiting at the airport to greet them and accompany them on their tour of the nation’s capitol.
“My friends and I have waited almost a year to be a part of the Honor Flight trips and we are just so happy to be here,” said retired Army Air Corps Sgt. Wade H. Armstrong. “I don’t think that I have shaken more hands or taken as many pictures in my entire life as I have the last two days.”
Joining fellow service members, Causey decided to spend part of his weekend doing something he had never done before.
“My wife’s grandfather had done one,” said Marine Gunnery Sgt. Benjamin Causey, faculty development manager for the Enlisted Professional Military Education Branch. “And I had heard about it at a Welcome Aboard Brief.”
Although there are different ways to serve with the Honor Flights, Causey served as a guardian, acting as a personal assistant to retired Air Force Col. Arthur Wendt, who also served in the Navy during World War II, by providing help throughout the entire experience.
“I was assigned to a Navy veteran of World War II, and he was really, really interesting,” said Causey. “The most interesting story this guy told me is when he said ‘I dated his sister,’ referring to the sister of Harlon Block, one of the Iwo Jima flag-raising Marines. And at first I thought he was messing with me. But he was serious.”
From assisting the vets off the plane, the guardians spent Friday night and most of the day on Saturday getting to know the veterans and taking them to some of the nation’s iconic memorials including the Lincoln, World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force memorials and Arlington National Cemetery.
“This has been one of the best experiences of my life,” said Armstrong. “There’s no way that I could pick a favorite part, because the whole thing was nothing short of amazing. The guardians helped us out so much and were so kind, courteous and just ready to give us aid. But I know that is what you should expect from active duty service members, especially devil dogs.”
Causey said he gained an appreciation for the veterans and enjoyed meeting other volunteers.
“It was reassuring and rewarding to meet like-minded [people],” said Causey. “I learned a lot.”
For information about future honor flights, call the community relations office at 703-784-3699.