Veterans on 19th Central Valley Honor Flight welcomed in Baltimore with open arms

BALTIMORE, Md. (KFSN) -- The 19th Central Valley Honor Flight took off from Fresno Monday morning, the first from Fresno that will feature all Vietnam veterans.

Day one of the honor flight is in the books; we're not in Washington DC -- yet. We had a lot to get to before our local heroes get to our nation's capital.

Our flight took off at about 8 a.m. from Fresno, but the Central Valley had to send off our veterans the right way.

A large crowd that included a bugler, bagpipes, a band, and Congressman Jim Costa helped to send off the 19th Honor Flight - the first with exclusively Vietnam veterans.

When they arrived in Baltimore, they were greeted at the gates by people thanking them for their service before jumping on some buses and being treated to a BBQ dinner at one of the local American Legion Posts - even getting a welcome kiss at the door.

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The 68 Vietnam War veterans were greeted at the gates by people thanking them for their service with handshakes and big hugs.

They were also escorted by a Honor Flight motorcycle escort team on their way to and from dinner comprised entirely of volunteers who want to welcome the veterans the right way.

"You just can't get enough of it," said Keith Gentry with BWI Brownies. "It never gets old to any of us, it's just unique to get out every weekend and shake the hands and let these people know their service was really worth something."

In total, there are 68 Vietnam veterans on this flight, the youngest is 64 and the oldest is 80. Everyone we talked to is looking forward to seeing all of the monuments of course, but the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in particular.

"I have a couple friends that I went to school with that are on there," said veteran John Loscutova. "One was a special forces guy and he got killed before I even got there."

Tuesday, we will be heading to the memorials, many of these veterans seeing them for the very first time - we're set to visit the Vietnam Wall at about 6 a.m. Pacific Time.

We have full coverage of the 19th Honor Flight here.
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