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    Honor Flight Arizona Visits Maryland Museum of Military History

    The Veterans Depart for Arizona

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Chazz Kibler | U.S. military veterans and volunteers with Honor Flight Arizona exit the Fifth...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Chazz Kibler 

    29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    BALTIMORE—Vietnam and Korean veterans and guardians with Honor Flight Arizona, a faction of the national non-profit organization, Honor Flight, embarked on a journey to see the war memorials in Washington and capped off the trip with a visit to the Maryland Museum of Military History at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore, on May 10, 2024. HFA, a volunteer-based organization, dedicates itself to transporting as many United States military veterans as possible to see the memorials of the respective wars they fought in Washington, at no cost to the veteran.
    Diane Franzese, a board member of HFA, said that the national organization has flown 250,000 veterans to Washington to see the memorials and 4,000 from the Arizona faction.
    “We take the veterans to the memorials as a thanks and remembrance for them,” said Franzese.
    Thanks to donations, Franzese said that HFA can fly out at least 56 people per flight and take ten flights yearly. Among those 56 people are guardians who escort the vets in wheelchairs and serve as friendly companions, organizational leaders, medics, and veterans, one of whom is Jerry Bakke, an 83-year-old North Dakotan-Vietnam veteran who served as an infantryman for six years with the U.S. Marines’ I39 India Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines.
    “[My trip to Washington has] been unbelievable,” said Bakke. “Meeting the young kids, having them shake our hands, and thanking us has been a memorable experience.”
    Bakke emphasized the significant change in the public's attitude towards veterans and expressed his gratitude for their appreciation. The Maryland Military Department’s Historian Team extended this gratitude, welcoming the veterans and giving them a guided tour of the Maryland Museum of Military History.
    “It's a pretty cool experience to connect what we do in the Maryland Guard with our role in national defense,” said Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Heft, a historical noncommissioned officer with the Maryland National Guard. “We're in the national story with a group of veterans who played a different role at a different time. It's neat to see how they react to the artifacts we have in our collection and our story and how that intertwines with what they did a couple of decades before.”
    During their visit, the veterans had the opportunity to interact with the museum's exhibits, share their personal stories, and engage in discussions with the Historian Team, further deepening their connection with the museum and its history.
    “I did speak with one of the veterans who grew up near where I grew up in Philadelphia,” said Heft. He talked about his transition into the military and how, after Vietnam, he stayed in the reserve component. I think seeing somebody in uniform and talking about military history made him a little more comfortable talking about his personal experience.”
    The Maryland Museum of Military History was the last stop for HFA veterans before returning to Arizona, but it will not be their last visit. HFA is scheduled to visit the museum five more times in 2024.



    Date Taken: 05.10.2024
    Date Posted: 05.16.2024 15:34
    Story ID: 471457

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