Story County Freedom Flight takes off
—by Todd Thorson
Approximately 150 Story County veterans boarded a plane yesterday (Tuesday, Oct. 6) and flew to Washington, D.C. for a full day of activities at the various war memorials and other sites in and around our nation’s capital. They were all a part of the third Story County Freedom Flight, which was made possible by the generous donations of businesses and individuals throughout the county. The veterans shared stories and personal histories with their fellow veterans. Some took solace with the memories of those they knew who had lost their lives while in battle; many looking for names etched on the walls of the various memorials.
A wonderful send-off celebration was held on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 5) for the veterans, complete with a motorcade, a moving ceremony at the Ames City Auditorium and a meet-and-greet following the festivities.
Members of the this year’s Freedom Flight contingency from Roland included: Gary Carpenter, Army, Vietnam (1960-66); Jerry Dickinson (formerly of Roland, now residing in Ames), Navy, Vietnam (1961-64); Robert Jacobson, Army, Vietnam (1967-69); Edward Meester, Navy, Vietnam (1974-83); Tom Nolte, Navy, Vietnam (1965-69); Dale Portis, Navy, Vietnam (1965-68); Merlin Wendt, Army, Vietnam (1972-2002); Charles Wheeler, Army, Vietnam (1965-67).
Veterans from Story City taking part in the flight included: William Carlson, Army, Vietnam (1969-78); Robert Dodson, Army, Korea/Vietnam (1948-78); Lowell Lande, Army, Vietnam (1967-69; Willie Lykins, Army, Vietnam (1970-76); Reynold Nordeen, Army, Vietnam (1965-67); Kenneth Olson, Army, Vietnam (1959-62); David Osheim, Army, Vietnam (1963-65); Curtis Owenson, Army, Korea (1949-51); Marvin Post, Air Force, Korea (1953-57); Paul Quam, Navy, Vietnam (1969-71); Ole Skaar, Jr., Air Force, Vietnam (1971-75); Larry Stone, Army, Vietnam (1969-72); William Tjernagel, Army, Korea (1953-55).
Photos of the send-off ceremony courtesy of Dianne Swenson