ST. LOUIS – The Greater St. Louis Honor Flight is celebrating a major milestone today, its 100th flight. Nearly 60 veterans took off early Monday morning.

A combination of 58 WWII, Korea and Vietnam veterans took off from St. Louis International Airport just before 5:30 am. They took a chartered plane to our nation’s capital to visit several monuments and memorials that honor their service and sacrifice.

“It means a lot simply because you’re around people that have gone through the same thing that you have gone through,” said Eddie Powell, U.S. Army Veteran.

“I’ve always wanted to go to D.C., and now I have a chance to do it. It’s a great opportunity for all the veterans,” said James Donahue Jr., U.S. Navy Veteran.

The greater St. Louis Honor Flight is only the second one in the country to fly 100 missions.

“We’re very proud of that, but it’s really about the veterans today. And we’re so excited to take 58 vets to DC for the day and shower them with attention and gratitude and really honor them in every single way, so it’s a wonderful day,” said Keath Hausher, Flight Leader.

We spoke with five veterans who attended Cleveland High School together in south St. Louis in the 60s. They either enlisted or got drafted after they graduated.

“To get to go with my best friends. It’s a big deal, and I enjoyed serving. Everybody says thank you for your service. It was my pleasure to do it, so glad I got to,” said Rick Arnold
Air Force Veteran, Deployed to Pakistan & Italy.

Vietnam veteran Lou Mataya has since moved to Mississippi. He drove to reunite with his friends for the honor flight.

“We’ve been waiting for two years for this,” said Lou Mataya, Vietnam War Veteran.

The group will land back here at Lambert International Airport just after 8:00 p.m. Tuesday.