INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — After years on a waiting list, an Indianapolis man is among 85 Hoosier veterans who will head to Washington in a few months as part of an honor flight.
Vietnam War veteran Randy Smith, 73, told News 8 he submitted his application in 2015 and finally heard back in June 2019.
Eighty-five veterans will leave Plainfield on Oct. 26 and head to Washington. Indy Honor Flight said 900 veterans are remain on waiting lists for honor flights.
“It’s a very unique thing they’re doing for veterans. A lot of people don’t really recognize veterans like they should,” Smith said.
Smith was in the military for 26 years and spent time in the Army before joining the National Guard as a supply clerk and cook.
Veterans going on the honor flight are allowed to bring a caregiver, in Smith’s case, his only daughter, Lisa Tackett.
“We got one guy going on our trip and (he) is a World War II veteran. He’s 96 years old, and I’m real anxious to meet him and see what kind of stories he’s got,” said Smith.
Smith’s granddaughter, Jessica Davis, has always admired his service. She even recalls a letter she wrote to him when she was 12 years old calling him a hero.
“The fact that he was in the Vietnam War, which was one of the bigger, more known wars, it was kind of like, ‘Yeah, I know someone who did that,’ and he helped fight for the country or whatnot,” said Davis.
“So I think it was just because it was such an important time in his life that it should be important in mine,” Davis said.
Smith shared some advice for the dozens of veterans who are still waiting for a callback from Indy Honor Flight.
“If it’s been a while since you’ve applied, apply again, but don’t give up hope. I’m sure they’ll get around to you,” he said.