Local Vandalia native Ron Galloway recently had an opportunity to take a special trip with his brother. The trip exclusively for America’s Heroes is known as the Honor Flight, which is a day of remembrance for those who served in military during wartime.
Galloway served in the U.S. Navy from 1952-53, and then served six years in the Navy Reserves. As a First Class Petty Officer, he worked on a repair ship that sailed up and down the eastern seaboard. While his homeport was Charleston, S.C., he had an opportunity to dock at naval bases in Norfolk and Yorktown, Va. Ron is one of five brothers, all of which enlisted during WWII.
It was through the efforts of Galloway’s niece that made the Honor Flight a reality. She had heard about it, and decided to fill out the paperwork for both her father and uncle. Following a lengthy questionnaire over the phone, the trip was scheduled.
On the morning of August 26, the trip began in Columbia with breakfast at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. After breakfast, Ron and his brother Lyndell boarded buses en route to St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport. The Galloway brothers then flew into Baltimore, where tour buses were waiting for them.
“When we walked through the Airport in Baltimore, there were probably 200 or 300 people there to welcome us. They were clapping and shaking our hands. It was really nice,” Galloway said.
The itinerary for the day-long trip included a visit to the WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Memorial sites, Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Iwo Jima Memorial, and the Air Force Memorial.
However, an unexpected surprise was when Ron’s great-niece, Natalie Meng showed up to meet them. Meng is an Army Captain, stationed in Washington D.C.
“It was the longest, short day you had ever seen, and they didn’t waste any time. It was a solid day of flying, bussing, and seeing monuments. But, they had everything covered. If you needed oxygen, water, or a wheelchair, they had it available to keep you going. It was a great trip and I’ll always remember it,” Galloway said.
Eventually, the sightseeing tour would come to an end with a flight from Baltimore to St. Louis. Followed by a bus ride that is escorted from Kingdom City to Columbia, by the Central Missouri Honor Flight Motorcycle Riders and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Along with a day of fond memories, Galloway also received a gift bag with a certificate commemorating the trip, a Korean War history book, and a hand-stitched quilt.