Betty Jo Cyr of Tracy City, Tennessee, a U.S. Navy veteran who served during the Korean War (in wheel chair), enters the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Dining Facility Tuesday. Photo by Julia Simpkins

Honor Flight: Veterans of three wars break bread at JBM-HH

Fifty-two elderly veterans and volunteers from Middle, Tennessee, formed a group they call “Guardians.” The group visited Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Tuesday as part of the Honor Flight program, where nonprofit groups purchase airplane tickets for veterans to visit military installations or memorial sites and receive thanks for their service.

As the veterans arrived at the base dining facility, JBM-HH Commander Col. Kimberly Peeples was waiting to greet them, as were members of the Old Fife and Drum Corps, who played several pieces for the group. Fifers Sgt. 1st Class Heather Tribble, Staff Sgts. Lindsay Natiw and drummer Kevin Thompson played the musical equivalent of commands of execution, explaining their importance during battle in preindustrial America because of Soldiers’ inability to hear vocal commands during the heat of battle.

The Honor Flight veterans served in all branches of the military and all around the world.

As the Guardians entered the dining facility, diners and guests greeted them with obvious glee at meeting the group.

A special guest in the group was 100-year-old World War II veteran David Lowhorn, who served on a minesweeper for the Navy, 1944-1945. He said he and his four brothers served during the “Great War.” Betty-Jo Cyr, a female veteran of the Korean War, served in the Navy from 1952 to 1953. She said she was master at arms in her barracks.

“I didn’t really get (military) training back then,” she said. “I went from being master at arms to the officers’ mess, where I served as a cashier. That honor flight was awesome. I couldn’t do it again — it about wore me out!”

Cyr has two grown children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

“I had a great trip,” she said. “I certainly enjoyed dinner at the dining facility. I liked that I got to eat military food again. It was an exciting time. It will always be in my memory.”

The Honor Flight of Middle Tennessee was established in 2008 and has flown almost 700 veterans to date.

By Julia Simpkins

Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Command Information Chief