Honor Flight: WWII Vet's Surprise Visit From Army Grandson

CREATED May. 17, 2011

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - A total of 125 local World War II veterans made the recent trip to see their memorial.

One Navy Seal who took the trip had no idea about a surprise waiting for him in Washington, D.C.

Russ Consiglio, who's from Greenfield, spent 21 years in the Navy, with 10 years as a Seal.

He explained that he'd served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Audio:
Click here to hear Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Jodi Becker talk with Russ and Sam Consiglio at the WWII Memorial

May 2011 Honor Flight Archive:
Three Vet Friends Call Trip 'Unbelievable'
WWII Vet's Special Picture and Letter

More:
Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

As he walked off the plane in D.C., and eventually reached the WWII memorial, Russ's passion for the military was obvious.

"I contributed to this, but I never had an opportunity to see it.  It's overwhelming," said Russ, who often used the word brotherhood to describe his close ties with those with whom he served.

"A bond that you embrace in service, that lasts forever.  Each guy looks out for the other guy.  When you fall, you fall, but you never lose that bond."

A big surprise had been planned for him.

All of the sudden, Russ's eyes got big.  He spotted his grandson Sam Consiglio just back from a tour with the Army in Afghanistan…

"I looked, and I couldn't believe it was him.  It's a total surprise!" Russ exclaimed.

"I just wanted to be here for an important event," said Sam.  "I had to be here for my grandpa.  It's a level of respect that goes along with it, and the things that you have to go through."

"I'm proud of him," Russ said about his grandson.  "I wanted him to go into the service."

Russ and his grandson then got into a good-natured Army-Navy ribbing match.

"I was hoping he'd go in the navy and hook up with the Seals teams," Russ said.

"We got Rangers," Sam retorted.

"You know how long they lasted when they went to our training?  About three days," Russ joked.

"I can't argue with that," his grandson admitted.

The two walked around the memorial sharing stories only brothers in service can understand.