A post-World War II U.S. Air Force Air Police veteran from North Vernon was a member of the 19th Indy Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
Arnold Greene, 87, participated in that once-in-a-lifetime event Sept. 3, touring the nation’s capital with fellow World War II and Korean War veterans.
The 178 veterans visited Arlington National Cemetery, the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln, Korean War and Vietnam War memorials.
Story continues below gallery
Greene, who grew up in Seymour and still plays golf, mows his yard and attends church, said he would encourage any veteran to take the Indy Honor Flight if possible and to remember the words on the Korean monument: “Freedom is Not Free.”
Green’s daughter, Debra McKinley, who served as his Indy Honor Flight guardian, said the day was superbly organized.
“The veterans were honored all day, every step of the way, including their flight in a patriotically decorated chartered jet with a water-cannon salute at the airport,” she said. “Total strangers as well as volunteers, both young and old, would come up to shake their hands and thank them for their service to our country.”
“We only get one chance to do it right,” said Grant Thompson, Indy Honor Flight chairman.
One highlight of the day involved a chat with former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole from Kansas. Dole frequently spends afternoons near the monuments, greeting veterans and tourists.
Greene joined the U.S. Air Force in August 1948 along with Seymour High School friends, Jesse Kovener and Bill Krantz.
They left Seymour on a Greyhound bus for Indianapolis and from there took a train to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, for 13 weeks of basic training.
Next, orders took them to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, and then on to Germany.
Greene entered the air force’s Air Police and was stationed at Landsberg, Germany, for three years. He participated in the Berlin Airlift.
Afterward, he returned to Parks Air Force Base in California for six months before being honorably discharged.
Greene, who lives with his wife of 63 years, Bonnie Hensley Greene, said the trip brought back a lot of memories about growing up in Seymour.
As a teenager during World War II, he set pins for the soldiers in the bowling alley at Freeman Field and still remembers many of the officers’ names. He said sometimes, they would tip him 50 cents, which was very generous in those days.
McKinley said during their visit to the World War II Monument, a guide told her dad that they refer to his generation of veterans as the “Little Brothers,” the ones who were home and still too young to fight but joined the service later before Korea.
For information about future Indy Honor Flights, visit indyhonorflight.org.