Honor Flight/Audio

Vet who flew 223 combat missions says he was just doing his job

CREATED Nov 8, 2011 - UPDATED: Nov 9, 2011

  • (1) | COMMENTS
  • Print
  • People filled Mitchell International to welcome their vets home.

  • The Honor Guard leads our vets back to their families at Mitchell International.

  • Waiting for our return flight.

  • At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier watching the changing of the guard.

  • Posing for the group shot at the WWII Memorial.

  • Wisconsin's column at the WWII memorial.

  • Flowers left at a memorial to the 101st Airborne at Arlington National Cemetery.

  • At the Women's Memorial.

  • Our welcome in Washington.

  • Relatives of one of our vets meet him at the airport in Washington.

  • Charlie Sykes shakes our vets hands as they arrive at Dulles International.

  • People in Washington DC welcome our vets at the airport.

  • Waiting to go see the sights.

  • Charlie Sykes poses with a vet.

  • Flying to Washington

  • Music for the vets as we wait for our flight.

  • Volunteers shake the hands of the vets prior to takeoff.

  • Vets and their Guardians lined up at Mitchell getting ready for their flight.

WASHINGTON DC - "I feel honored, but I don't know that we have it coming anymore than anyone else."

Don Denman is unassuming, but seeing him on the plane and standing next to him on one of our bus rides something made me want to know his story.

Don flew in the Pacific theater, through China, Burma and India.  He would fly air drop missions through the Himalayas dropping everything from supplies to people.  "It wasn't as smooth a landing as we had here," Don told me.

The airdrops were critical to the region.  "There were no roads."

Don was wearing three air medals and two distinguished flying crosses.

Over 223 combat missions and 590 combat hours, Don earned those medals.

But he didn't seem to want to highlight what he'd done to earn them.  He very casually told me he'd just earned them for flying.

He wanted to talk about the other guys.

"I came through without a scratch, to me I think about all the ones that didn't make it.  They're the ones who should be honored.  We just all did our job and didn't know any different.  When World War II broke out, we all just wanted to go.  We felt sorry for the ones that couldn't make it," Don told me.

Don used to get together regularly with his unit for reunions.  That stopped three years ago.  "There weren't enough of us left to have a reunion," Don said

Don told me he hoped to honor those who didn't come home through his trip.