Listen: Vietnam, Minnesota, Minnesota Vietnam discussed on Minnesota Military Radio Hour
"Us about your service I was. Went to Vietnam I first time in. April of nineteen sixty eight I was. There, till March, for, the next year Am I second tour was Starting in August of sixty eight sixty nine to August of nineteen seventy two months and. Seventeen days and six hours if your accounting and you're a Huey helicopter. Crew, chief. Could've Shanidar gutter yes sir. Then, you made, it anyway yes it well there, were lots of Hilliker optimism Vietnam and and a lot. Of men didn't make it I think there is twelve thousand helicopters of, which five thousand were destroyed killing about twenty. Two hundred pilots and twenty. Eight hundred, guys like me. Crew chief gunner's and medics I'll bet there's a lot more troops that made it because of you. In. In your helicopter crew yes it was a noble cause to make sure that those. Men were taken care of they took him out there to the mud in, the blood and the fear and we gave them their food and, their ammo and their mail and we took calm. Their wounded and. Brought home their casualties Well it is great work, over there and I'm sure there's a lot. Of our fellow Vietnam veterans. Their live, because you guys. Thanks Jerry l. it was an honor to do it though we've been following you for years with? Honor. Flight twin cities but I wanna go back ways you told me that that started. Out with the Minnesota Vietnam veterans charity can you tell us all that involved, yes we started that with Minnesota Vietnam Venice charity with a car, donation program with a gentleman in town who is a marine During, the Vietnam, era award didn't go over but he had a car donate a he had a Across town auto in town and we put together a program. Would earn some money for us so we could give away to other folks in the twin cities, and that's how honor flight got started, because we had Nobody knew anything about us we had no, credibility factor and so the first sixty five thousand to do that for his flood came from Minnesota Vietnam veterans charity now where did. The idea of doing hundred flight twin cities come from I. Was, approached by the director from the national headquarters after I'd put together A. Couple of big aviation flyovers one. Was for the World War Two memorial flyover we had like twenty five airplanes and the next year was Minnesota hundred fiftieth anniversary we we put thirty airplanes up of all types from By plans to Cirrus airplanes that are in Minnesota and then The next year was the Vietnam veterans wall at they, had here The thought that maybe. I could do something like honor flight I'd never heard of it so honor, flights was I? Put, together. To honor our World War Two veterans the greatest generation yes sir, and my father was one and, unfortunately is, a retired army Colonel but he passed away at age. Fifty one and my mother passed away of ten years after that so I'd I was honored to be able to do, this and honor them both of them that I had not been living for a long. Time so I was pleased. To be able to do this then you've got a very special partner in. Uttar flights twin? Cities, that. You referred to as the general at your wife isn't it yes, sir I was doing the honor, flight we, have it run it in organizational process like the military. With with Platoon's and also with squads. And we have and we run it like that that I'm there sergeant and. So I was at a sergeant major on one of my trips from. The national guard. And he. Said you you run it like a sergeant major so here's your pin so I tell people I promoted myself to sergeant major. Because I can and I. Also promoted my wife to Major General because she runs a. Show back here and keeps me on straight arrow they really couldn't do it without her could. Absolutely not use the wonderful administrator she's been your partner and put. Up with you for a lotta years forty two years good work you. Were take good care of the generals right for speaking. With Jerry Kaiser from honor flights twin cities in Minnesota, military radio So Jerry underplay twin cities when was the first flight, was September? Of, two. Thousand eight I actually went on. My first one, as a trial when I, forgot what was going on And see whether we could do that we were Happy the way that we were trained, a. Little bit by the folks out, of Rochester Minnesota they're the ones that had them and we took care of the twin cities is. Like over three or. Four million people up here that's counting. Western Wisconsin and so we started picking that up so this. Is our Twentieth honor flight that we're doing in September so many World War. Two veteran that first one remember one hundred how. Many were on the last. One earlier this year forty forty World War Two. Vets, and now some. Korean orbits yes hundred and sixty we're out in the last total fifteen hundred and four World War Two hundred and. Sixty Korea and we've taken to terminally ill Vietnam veterans ought to take them the other way you've got these things setup, it's a charter aircraft still using the same company yes, sun country airlines I've paid them a, million dollars over the last ten. Years and we're a good customers and it's a long day we went with you a couple, of. Years ago and got a dozen, interviews from the from the vets around the trip and it was a beautiful day and they went. Well but it's a. Long day it is but there are. Totally wired there this This is the change their left there it's a spiritual emotional day. For them this is not a day trip to the mall this is a mission for them to remind themselves of what, they did during that time whether they're in combat or, not into those who never made it, then the families are affected by. It Well I know that. On that trip the day we were there I think it turned out to be about a twenty. Hour day between the time. We left the house got up to the. Airport did the whole trip got back and got. Back home it was a long day but those World War Two and Korean vets around that flight they were all jacked up when, I got home and had. Lots of people there to greet him they did a. Great job we had the university. Of Minnesota's ROTC departments, we had our military people from the national guard I believe we even had on our. Floods general bells to just been promoted to, Brigadier General in the an in the air force the first woman for Minnesota and so we have these. Women veterans on this? Ship. There are thrilled to see that and. The other said we had four hundred. And fifty people there a pipe band and and. The patriots card it's just a wonderful thing to see they're they're pretty happy and Jerry, every one of those veterans as a guardian in the veterans go. For free but the guardians pick yes These are expensive trips that cost pretty close, to eighty eight thousand dollars and we need that five. Hundred dollar contribution from those, guardians and we have four hundred on the waiting list to. Be guardian so want to do this so they're a benefit to help us tremendously and we get. Funding from individuals and organizations. That we apply for and Jerry understand that. If you've got a World War Two vet and. Your family and you wanna be a guardian and take them you might be able to move a little closer to the front of, the line well right now. If you are have a World War Two veteran it's. A family member and they want. To go then they, would go on the next one there ahead of the Korean veterans and so or I. Tell fellow today he wanted to go on, a desperately as a guardian I says find a World War Two veteran my friend and get him signed. Up you're going in? Here Jerry we have take a short break may. Come back I wanna talk about your, upcoming honor flight on September twenty ninth in the mix.."