The North Bend Eagle

 

Local vets on last Honor Flight

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 5/10/17

Three local veterans were on what Bill and Evonne Williams of Patriotic Productions say will be the last Honor Flight.

Honor flights
Cheryl Feala stands by the military women's statue in Washington, D.C. She was the only felmale on the Honor Flight of Vietnam veterans.

The May 1 flight took Vietnam veterans Cheryl Feala, Ze Heller and Brad Martindale to Washington, D.C. John Halladay and Norman Barnes, also members of VFW Post 8223, were on the trip too. After boarding busses for the Omaha airport at 2:15 a.m., the 654 veterans, plus media and support staff, arrived in D.C. at 7:30 a.m. First stop was the Lincoln Memorial for a photo session, then on to the Vietnam Wall where a wreath laying ceremony was held at the apex of the Wall.

“Being in the company of the other veterans, going as a group to the Wall, expressing respect to the fallen,” Feala said, made the event memorable for her.

Feala said she and the other North Bend veterans were on the first bus there and were able to find the names of North Bend men Darrell Hovenden, Henry Limbach and Ed Scott on the Wall. After the remainder of the 17 busses arrived there was such a crowd, Feala said it was difficult to find names.

The Korean War Monument, Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial and Iwo Jima Memorial were all visited.

“Each monument we visited was awe expiring in its own right and certainly spoke volumes about that time in history that it represented,” Feala said. “The triumphs and struggles within and the sacrifices and pain that goes with conflict and war.”

Feala, 71, was an Army nurse serving in Vietnam 30 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone in 1968-1969. She was 21 at the time and fresh out of nursing school.

As the only woman on the trip, Feala said she felt like she represented all the military nurses to the men. She was approached by a number of men with stories of nurses they had met in Vietnam.

Brad Martindale, 67, was in the Navy on board an aircraft carrier. They were off the coast of Vietnam for two tours between 1970 and 1972. There were two other men from his aircraft carrier on the Honor Flight.

The veterans ate lunch on the bus while traveling to Arlington Cemetery where they saw the changing of the guard, which Martindale was very impressed with, in addition to the Vietnam Wall.

“We were treated first class,” Martindale said. “The people that organized it did a fantastic job. No corners were cut.”

Meanwhile, back in Omaha, Martindale’s wife, Kathy, was enjoying a day with other wives.

 

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