OMAHA, NE – More than 130 Korean War combat veterans were gathering Monday night ahead of their Washington, D.C. Tuesday honor flight trip—the first honor flight designated for Nebraskans who served in Korea.
“I spent about eight months in Korea. It was cold. Real cold,” said Bill Maahs who now lives in Grand Island.
Maahs suffers from Macular Degeneration and is losing his eyesight. He was among the group of combat veterans deemed deserving for the trip assembled at a banquet Monday night. Organizers said more than 550 Korean War veterans applied for the inaugural honor flight.
“I don't know how to explain it, it's great,” Maahs said. “I'll have to get real close. I can't read at all anymore.”
Ruth Ann Popp requested her father, Vern Bush, get a spot on the flight too. She was at Monday’s banquet seeing him off. Bush was awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic actions saving fellow troops from a mine field.
“I got everybody out of there and there was another GI still in the mine field and went back to get him,” Bush said.
“He's always been an extraordinary man, so I'm not surprised,” said Popp, “but when you go back and really read why he got the medals and purple hearts, you think, ‘Wow!’”
An Iowa Korean War group is also leaving from Eppley Airfield this week. Their day-long trip is scheduled for Wednesday.