Honor Flight: 'To actually be there I think will totally be a different experience'
ALBANY, Ore. - Jack Hanes joined the Navy just as the Korean War was ending.
His first assignment? The USS Rochester.
"Mainland China was threatening to invade Taiwan," Jack recalled. "The 7th fleet, we were the flagship the 7th fleet. We sailed back and forth between Taiwan and mainland China as a kind of a bluff move to discourage China from doing that."
When a volunteer was needed to work with the doctors on board, Jack was quick to raise his hand.
"About the second day I went down there, I was giving shots," he said. "The guy said, he says, 'You ever give a shot?' No. He said, 'Oh, it's simple.' So he had the guy lay down on his back and he got the needles ready and he said, 'I'll help you.' Of course, the poor guy I was giving the shot to had no idea."
After the Navy, Jack became a teacher: 20 years in Gresham, and 36 years in Montana.
He found out he was going on the South Willamette Honor Flight when his daughter Cindy called to say she had signed him up.
"I really don't know what to expect," he said before the trip. "I assume that we'll be visiting a lot of the memorial sites and see some historic places."
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He's right about that. It's the mission of the Honor Flight program to give veterans a chance to see their memorials in our nation's capital.
"I don't know how I'm going to react," Jack said. "You've seen pictures of them and that's not a very emotional experience. To actually be there I think will totally be a different experience."