Bay area veterans prepare for Honor Flight

NORTH BEND, Ore.-- Some Bay Area World War II Veterans are gearing up for a big adventure into their past.

The three men along with other local veterans will soon take-off to Washington D.C. to see the national memorial honoring their service and the service of those they served with, the World War II National Memorial.

"The ship that I was on was breaking up, and I was gonna sink," said Ralph Sweet, Bay Area World War II Veteran. "And we lucked out and got out of it."

"Our ship got hit by a kamikaze, and out of the five of us in my gun mount, I'm the only one that survived," said Bill Rugh, Bay Area World War II Navy Veteran.

Each World War II veteran comes with their own story of survivial and for those in the Coos Bay-North Bend, one flight will soon be taking them back into the past.

The local veterans will fly out of the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport this coming summer. Together they will fly up to Portland, share a meal, and then catch the Honor Flight to the nation's capitol.

"I'm very excited about it being there and having the opportunity to go and see it," Ray Smith, Bay Area World War II Air Force Vet, said.

The men have been waiting for a while on the veteran's honor flight list to take the trip to see the memorial that honor's their service. With grant money from the Coquille Indian Tribe, the wait is nearly over.

"Incredible, wonderful. I just couldn't believe it was actually happening to me, "Sweet said.

But the veterans are also excited to see how other memorials and musuem honor not only their service, but the service of those in wars before and after WWII.

"To see these memorials and see all the programs that they have lined up for us is gonna be exciting and very adventurous I think," Rugh said.