PORTLAND, Ore. — Following their big send-off in Lane and Linn counties, the South Willamette Valley Honor Flight has gathered in Portland before Friday's travel to Washington, D.C.
This week's Honor Flight features a large number of female veterans, including two who are on the trip with their husbands, who are also veterans.
We visited one of those couples last week to learn about their individual and shared military experiences.
Karen and J.V. Phillips both come from military families.
“Sister was a Marine. I've got two brothers that were Marines,” J.V. said.
And so was he, having served 28 months in Vietnam.
“I was brought up as a Marine child and stuff.”
Karen's father was also a veteran.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad and the time he was in the Army,” she said.
Both came from military families. Both served during the Vietnam War.
But their experiences were quite different.
“He’s got a lot more stories to tell than I do,” Karen said, “a lot more interesting things that happened to him and so forth.”
Some good. Some not so good.
“There's a lot of stuff that you don't really want to talk about.”
For Karen, it was mostly good. She says she enjoyed her time in the service.
J.V. ended up joining the Army Guard, serving a total of 34 years in the armed services.
But as different as their military careers were, they can agree on one thing.
“For me, I would do it all over again,” said Karen.
“I have no regrets,” said J.V. “I'd do it all over again.”
And that they share.
Both having served their countries, and now spending as much time together as possible - like this week on the Honor Flight.
Not just recognizing J.V. And not just for Karen.
“For the Marine Corps and the people in the service. It’s not just for me. It's forI don't know, a lot of people. Like her dad.
And J.V.'s sister and brothers.
"It makes me real proud.”
And each other.
“We just care,” said Karen. “We just care about each other, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else than where I am.”
Sharing these experiences together.
Karen said she's particularly excited to visit the Military Women's Memorial and meet other women on the flight.