Just shy of his 21st birthday, Russell Hamill of Adair received the invitation in December of 1942 to join the U.S. Army. He would serve his country three years, serving 15 months in the European Theatre, assigned to the Headquarters Special Troops 84th Infantry Division Infantry.
Last month, Hamill and 84 other World War II veterans took the Honor Flight 12 to Washington D.C. to see monuments to their service and sacrifice. Helping to honor the life and legacy of our WWII veterans, guardians are assigned to each veteran. Son-in-law Mark Hodson of Tahlequah, formerly of Pryor, accompanied Hamill. Among the sites visited was the WWII Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln and Washington memorials.
Prior to leaving, the Oklahoma Veterans were honored with a reception at the Spirit Bank Center in Tulsa. People gathered to thank the veterans for their service when they departed from and returned to Tulsa airport.
The Oklahoma Honor Flights program, organized in 2009, is an official affiliate of Honor Flight Network. Oklahoma is the 31st state to start an organization to support the national effort. It takes Oklahoma veterans on one-day trips to the nation’s capital. Some 1,190 veterans to date have been honored. Three more flights will be traveling in 2013. Current estimates identify less than three million remaining of the 16 million in uniform during WWII.
If you know a veteran who needs to be honored, wish to volunteer as a guardian or make a contribution to the 501(c)3 organization, contact Oklahom Honor Flights at P.O. Box 10492, Midwest City, OK 73140 or oklahomahonorflights.org.