Austin Straubel Airport to host first ever 'Old Glory Honor Flight'

Brown County officials announced plans to offer a one-time flight out of Austin Straubel Airport next year, December 7, 2017. (WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Reflecting on his experience 76 years ago at Pearl Harbor.

"When I watched the fifth bomb, which was an underwater shot," explained World War II veteran, Firman Balza.

Balza says his return trip to Pearl Harbor in 2012, gave him the courage to tell his story, "I got to tell people what a horrendous experience it is to be caught in a war."

He made that trip thanks to the "Old Glory Honor Flight."

And more veterans may be able to participate, as officials announced plans to offer a one-time flight out of Austin Straubel Airport.

"This fight will take area veterans who survived in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam to their memorials in Washington D.C.," said Brown County Executive, Troy Streckenbach.

It comes at no cost for veterans. The flight will mark the first out of Ashwaubenon.

Since 2009, the organization has flown hundreds of veterans from the Appleton International Airport.

"It's going to operate like any other flight out of Appleton that we've done, except it's going to be out of Austin Straubel Airport. We're excited at the opportunity," said Drew MacDonald, Old Glory Honor Flight President.

The flight is scheduled for Nov. 1, 2018.

Streckenbach says it will be a part of the county's 200th anniversary celebration, "An end-cap to the year-long celebration of Brown County's history."

On a day meant to reflect on those who fought in Pearl Harbor, Balza says he hopes every veteran has the chance to get closure, "Deep within, that's my deep feeling for the honor flight people."

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