WWII vet takes Honor Flight, visits war memorials


At 90 years old, WWII veteran Betty Koon of Red Lodge along with 83 other Montana veterans visited the nation’s capitol for the Big Sky Honor Flight. As a way to pay tribute to the American veterans for their many sacrifices while serving our country, the 36-hour free trip, June 16-17 brought the vets to see both their memorial as well as the many other monuments in Washington D.C. “It was something else.

What I really enjoyed was the FDR monument. It was a large monument that covered each of his terms and engraved in stone were some of his famous sayings. FDR was my hero, so I remembered a lot of things he did and it brought back many memories,” said Betty, who had never visited the capitol prior to this trip. With her daughter Mary as an escort, the group of 79 men and four women toured the Lincoln, Vietnam War, Korean War, WWII, FDR and Iwo Jima Memorials. Chartering a plane and buses to transport the veterans, the Big Sky Honor Flight provided full accommodations for the needs of the elderly. Betty explained, “The committee that puts the Honor Flights together does it 150 percent. If we needed something they were there. They were all wonderful.” Impressed with the organization of the trip, Mary believes her mother, who served from 1944-1945 as a Navy WAVE (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and the other vets received the homecoming they deserve.

“When the plane took off in Billings they had water cannons with hoses that sprayed over the plane. When we returned, there were about 200 people there with signs to greet the veterans. It was pretty amazing,” said daughter Mary Koon. Betty, whose husband also served five years during WWII, joined the Navy WAVE to release a sailor for active duty to work for the transportation department in Oklahoma. “All these old people never had a real homecoming, so it was nice to be honored,” said Betty.

Upcoming Events

  • Monday, November 20, 2017 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 8:00am
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 9:30am
    Open 2nd and 4th Wednesday 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. 206 N ‘D’ Street. More info 662-1060.
  • Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Thursday, November 23, 2017 (All day)
    The Red Lodge Carnegie Library will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 23, in observance of Thanksgiving Day.  The library will be open on Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25.