Jon Lapo had a rough-and-tumble upbringing in the Madison and Central neighborhood on Chicago's West Side. Looking for direction, he enlisted in the Army and soon found himself in Vietnam as a demolition man and -- for a time -- as a tunnel rat. His experiences in-country produced trauma that he lives with to this day, but he has found a purpose in life in the present that sustains him.
In the absolute chaos that was Omaha Beach on D-Day, 20-year-old Ray Wagner found himself twice thrown into the water before scrambling onto the sand, death and destruction all around. He himself was wounded on that beach, but less than a month later he was back with his field artillery unit as they worked their way through Belgium, Holland, France and Germany -- where his unit came upon the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. Irascible and with language as salty as the water he was thrown into, Ray Wagner brings D-Day and the end of the war in Europe to vivid life in our 25th episode.
On October 6, 2021, our long-awaited Operation HerStory All-Female Veteran Flight took off bound for Washington, D.C., with 93 senior heroes aboard. Come along for the ride as Paul Meincke shares the sounds and experiences of the day through the eyes of several of the women veterans who took part in this historic mission!
WWII Army Air Corps First Lieutenant Alvin Goodman, Jr., flew 11 successful missions as a B-24 Bomber pilot before, while serving as co-pilot on his 12th, he was hit by flak and knocked out cold in the cockpit. In this episode of Honor. Thank. Inspire., Goodman describes the relatively little training pilots received before being thrown into combat, and his road to recovery after being wounded in midair. Goodman remained a flyer throughout his life, logging 25,000 hours of flight time during his career.
Retired Army Colonel Constance Love Edwards was a nurse in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, where she treated casualties coming in from the field while facing challenges related not only to gender, but race as well. In the decades afterwards, she has worked to bring recognition to the women who served in the military. On the occasion of our partnership with Operation HerStory and our All-Female Veteran Flight on October 6, 2021, we are proud to bring you Connie's story in this special episode.
Kenny Hirata spent many of his teenage years in an Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona during WWII. After resettling in the Midwest, Hirata served his country in the infantry during the Korean War. This powerful episode explores the effect of the internment camps on Hirata and his family, and how he built a life and career that culminated in his enshrinement in the Hot Rod Hall of Fame.
On August 18, 2021, Honor Flight Chicago returned to Washington, D.C., with a plane full of 112 senior war veterans. It was the first honor flight nationwide since the start of the pandemic and the first for HFC in 22 months. Go inside the flight with Paul Meincke to experience the day with our heroes!
After a 22-month pause in flying, Honor Flight Chicago is excited to return to the skies with its 96th flight in August of 2021. The resumption of flights to Washington, D.C., brings with it new protocols and a more urgent approach to our mission. Paul Meincke sits down with HFC Co-Directors Edna Ho and Doug Meffley to discuss those changes and more in this episode of Honor. Thank. Inspire.
Marine Corp Sergeant Lou Covelli was among the earliest combat troops sent to Vietnam, finding himself part of 1965's Operation Starlite -- the first purely U.S. offensive of the war. Covelli volunteered for any assignment that came his way during his tour, never believing that he would make it home alive. When he did, however, the reception he received from his fellow countrymen shook him to his core. His path forward, and Honor Flight Chicago's role in his current outlook on his service, are a focus of this episode of Honor. Thank. Inspire.
Staff Sergeant Harold Weir was struck eight times by enemy fire in 1944, but survived his wounds, subsequent capture, and five months as a POW in the infamous Stalag 17. Harold returned home after WWII and for decades stoically endured mental and physical pain that often left him unable to sleep through the night. In 2011 -- accompanied by his daughter, Donna -- SSgt Weir traveled with Honor Flight Chicago to Washington, D.C., for an experience that proved to be life changing for all involved.