Honor Flight: The Search for 'Kilroy'

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  • World War II veteran Robert Milbrath (seated). | Photo: Jodi Becker

WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than 400 World War II veterans and guardian volunteers made the most recent Honor Flight trip to Washington, and among the serious moments were also moments of levity.

The legend of Kilroy seemed to be a touchstone for all of these veterans, and I had no idea what they were talking about, but everyone wanted to find him.

"We're looking for him," said one veteran.  "Was the guy's wife with him?"

It turns out James J. Kilroy was a supposedly a Super GI who served in every combat, training or occupation of the war. 

He was always there first and stayed behind. 

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Click here to read more and find photos about the latest Honor Flight experience

Somehow, graffiti saying "Kilroy was here," ended up everywhere our troops did. 

There are two Kilroy messages at the WWII Memorial we saw on the Honor Flight trip.

Nearly everyone was looking, and some other fun memories came out as we looked.

"I was out on Guam for a couple days.  When we flew over, we stopped," said my grandfather, World War II veteran Robert Milbrath.

"Sticky, wet, kind of glad to get out of there."

We spotted a volunteer dressed up as Kilroy, but no Kilroy was there.

Veteran Bill Hines of Union Grove was in the Army Amphibious Corps.

He spotted engraving of equipment he operated, but not Kilroy.

"We couldn't find Kilroy.  We were a little disappointed," said Hines.

He's an elusive guy, I guess. 

It's just another reason to go back someday.