I had the opportunity to visit with three Honor Flights this Saturday and work the crowds at the Reagan gates and take two group pictures. The DCA Honor Flight Greeters hooked me up with a gate pass and so I was able to photograph both Dayton Honor Flight lead by Al Bailey who has been doing this since 2005/6 and Talons Out Honor Flight lead by Bobbi Bradley. As they arrived, they were greeted with the customary water arch in tribute and as they deplaned by throngs of people, bands and bystanders who stuck out their hands to say thanks. Greg Locher and Carol Cloyd from American Airlines made sure all went well at the gates. A few of the greeters will spend the rest of the day as either volunteers or tour guides for the hubs.
Talons Out had 84 Veterans total. They were 14 WWII Vets, 14 Korean War Vets and 56 Vietnam Veterans. They are planning two to three more flights depending on how fund raising goes.
After leaving the gates, we boarded the buses and were met by our Park Police escorts among them Steve Jones, motorman extraordinaire. He's got the loudest bike in the fleet and watching him break up traffic or a crowd on the bike is just amazing. With the tie and the new motorman's cap, he was looking sharp. No matter what kind of ride you're on, you can't be cooler than a motorman!
Steve Jones had a new "motorman's cap"...tres cool
Kevin Mont pictured below with Angela Petit was the bus driver. As he's a retired police officer himself, the relationship between he and the escorts is solid. I'm still holding my breath thinking about the buses weaving pretty nimbly behind the cycles and the officers dashing into intersections while waving cars over. I haven't had that much fun since I worked traveling pool at the White House. It is apparently the most remarked on activity in the Honor Flight Day. We are lucky to have the escorts as it saves two plus hours per day.
To be continued