About Honor Flight of Middle TennesseeLearn more about our Mission and History
For more than 10 years, Honor Flight of Middle Tennessee has been able to serve World War II and Korean War veterans by providing no costs trips to Washington D.C.
Honor Flight is a nation-wide program that takes eligible World War II, Korean War and Vietnam veterans on a free trip to see their war memorials in the nation’s capital.
World War II veterans get top priority followed by Korean War veterans. Terminally ill veterans from those wars who are well enough to fly with a doctor’s approval go to the front of the line. Vietnam Veterans who are at least 70 percent disabled due to exposure to Agent Orange herbicide or are terminally ill will be considered on a case by case basis after World War II and Korean War veterans.
Flights include veterans from all the armed services (including the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine service in WWII). On a recent flight one of the veterans had served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
The oldest veteran on a recent trip was 99. Most are Tennessee residents, but we often have veterans from other states.
Southern Middle Tennessee Veterans are picked up on a bus or vans with American Legion Riders, police and sheriffs department escorts. The bus usually starts in Winchester with pickups in Tullahoma, Manchester and Murfreesboro. Veterans from other areas meet the group at the Nashville Airport.
Members of the Patriot Guard Riders greet the veterans at the Nashville Airport with an American flag arch when they arrive around 5 a.m. and when they return usually around 9:30 p.m. The group flies out of Nashville, Tenn. on Southwest Airlines, the official airline of Honor Flight, to Reagan National airport and back from Reagan or Baltimore Washington airport the same day.
During the day the veterans get to spend time at the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and The Vietnam War Memorial. They also usually drive by the Air Force Memorial, the Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial and the Pentagon.
The afternoon concludes with the solemn changing of the guard ceremony at the tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. This is usually followed by supper in the base dining hall at Fort Meade Md. or Fort Myer Va.
The Honor Flight of Middle Tennessee is a Tennessee 501c3 non-profit cooperation. It was originally formed as the Southern Middle Tennessee Honor Flight in 2008 with Milton Schafer of Winchester as its chairman. The name was changed in 2013 to reflect the larger area it covered and it was granted 501c3 status in 2014.
Since 2009 the group has made two flights per year for approximately 50 veterans and their guardians on each flight. Veterans pay nothing for the trip, all airfare, meals and incidentals are covered by donations. Each veteran gets a distinctive Honor Flight of Middle Tennessee ball cap and polo shirt . They also get a backpack donated by Tennova Harton Hospital in Tullahoma. Guardians pay their own way.
At least one doctor and one nurse accompany each flight. A member of the board of directors who is a nurse, contacts each veteran and their families before each flight to make sure it is safe for the veteran to fly. Wheelchairs are loaned to Honor Flight by Middle Tennessee Respiratory, Decherd, Tenn.
It cost approximately $20,000 to put on each flight. Fundraising is underway for the next flight, as the group will have to spend $13,000-$14,000 in advanced payment for airfare and buses to reserve the date 3-4 months before the flight.