Korean War veterans heading to DC on Honor Flight Arizona's 80th trip

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Every trip with Honor Flight Arizona is special, but today's happens to mark the 80th trip, a milestone President Rick Hardina is very proud of.

"We are on an honor flight three-day trip to Washington, D.C. to see all the memorials and we have 35 Korean War veterans," he said. "Unfortunately, most of the WWII vets are up in such age -- we're down to the last 15, so we're still looking for them, but this is all Korean War they're forgotten no more"

The flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to the nation's capital is relatively the same, the but experience is one deeply personal and unique to every individual.

At 89-years-old, Korean War vet James Bockman says accepting the invitation to go on this journey with his daughter, Dawn, was a no-brainer. He says he's been to D.C. many times before, but going with his fellow veterans will be a very different experience.

"I told her, I said 'yeah, we want to go,'" he said. "It's important because we're going with the guys."

Each veteran brings a companion, with many choosing a spouse, son or daughter or a friend. Before takeoff, they get to know each other over coffee and snacks.

And with every refreshment passed, there's a smile and a thank you that comes along with it, just ask Elizabeth Young and Maty Thompson, two of the youngest volunteers.

"It's so special because, I mean, this is kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity," Young said.

Young adds that there's no shortage of appreciation for the hard work and dedication that has led up to today.

"Because they're fighting for our country and if we didn't have them, well I wouldn't feel very safe and I'm doing it because I've had past relatives that were veterans as well," Thompson said.