World War II veteran prepares for Honor Flight of Oregon

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — In just a few weeks, some local veterans will be making a trip of a lifetime to Washington D.C. The trip is arranged by Honor Flight of Oregon, and they provide a free trip for World War II and Korean war veterans to visit their memorial sites.

The purpose of the trip is to give veterans an opportunity to see their memorial sites while also honoring and thanking those who have served our country.

Robert F. Ashmead is one of those veterans.

“I was in the service for two years, four months and eight days,” Robert, World War II veteran, said. “It was what they call a liberty ship. I was an armed guard on the liberty ship.”

He is just one of 25 other veterans that are going on the flight. 16 of them served in the Korean War and the other nine served in World War II.

“This has been going on for quite awhile in different states and all this,” Robert said. “Finally they got it so we could do it here and they approached me and I agreed.”

Robert will be visiting the Vietnam memorial and the changing of the national guard, among many others. This is a sight that the 94-year-old will be seeing for the first time since he got out of the service, 73 years ago.

“It’s going to be quite a shock,” Robert’s voice voice breaking as he said it. “It’s kind of hard because I saw a lot of them that will never come back.”

Still, with a few more weeks away, it’s hard for Robert to hold back tears as he thinks about his trip to the east coast.

“It’s something special that you’re going to enjoy your last day,” Roberts said.

But Robert isn’t going alone. He’ll be accompanied by his only son, making the trip that more special.

“Yeah, it’ll be worth going, just worth going, that’s all,” Robert said. “I’m glad my son is going with me.”

They’re flight leaves on September 14 and returns on the Sept. 16.

The trip costs nearly 1,000 dollars per person and each veteran has a guardian who accompanies them.

The money is raised through donations from generous supporters.

“We believe that those honored vets need to have this opportunity not just to see a memorial but to experience the gratitude of the American public for that service that they gave to this country,” Terry Haines, Vice President of Honor Flight of Oregon, said.

Blakely McHugh is a weather forecaster and reporter for NBC5 News. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Blakely is a native of San Diego, CA.

Blakely is excited to be in southern Oregon, a place that gets all the seasons and has similar temperatures to Arizona in the summer! When she’s not at work, you can find her relaxing at home watching TV and cuddling with her cat, Dallas. She also enjoys trying new places to eat and exploring the outdoors.

Blakely loves meeting new people so if you see her out and about, say “Hi!”

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