LINCOLN (AP) — Seats and flights are being limited for Korean War veterans from Nebraska who want to take a free one-day tour of military memorials in the nation's capital.
Bill and Evonne Williams organized the Heartland Honor Flights that carried more than 1,500 World War II vets to Washington, but financial support for the Korean War vets hasn't been forthcoming.
The Williamses said that more than 500 vets from Nebraska and western Iowa have applied for seats in the past two weeks, with more than 40 requests a day still coming in.
But, Bill Williams said, there may be room for only 125 people and just one plane.
So far, the Williamses' Patriotic Productions has collected only about $10,000 in donations for the Korean veterans, compared with the $1.2 million raised for the seven flights taken by World War II vets in 2008 and 2009.
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So the Williamses will be screening the Korean War vets who will fill the plane.
“We're going to determine who is the most deserving, who were in the Korean conflict from 1950 to 1953,” Bill Williams said. “We're determining whether they served in a combat zone, whether on the ground, in the air or offshore.”
Seward, Neb., resident Herbert Folkert hopes he qualifies.
Folkert, now 86, called his time in Korea “a bad situation for a very good reason.”
He still wonders how he ever survived his first winter, when temperatures reached 35 below.
He remembers when his best friend got killed by a mortar round as he was getting into a foxhole.
“I got in just ahead of him,” Folkert said.
Bill Williams said Folkert is one of “the guys who will be onboard.”
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