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Local veterans look forward to Honor Flight

Front, l. to r. - Fred Tiede and Leon Nelson; back - Orville Miller, Leo Baustert and Charles (Vern) Channer.

Five World War II era veterans from the Boone County area are hoping to make a special flight soon to see the World War II Memorial and other memorials in Washington, DC.

Four of those veterans — Fred Tiede of Akron, Leo Baustert and Vern Channer, both of St. Edward, and Orville Miller of Spalding — have plans to board the “Honor Flight” leaving from Omaha on Sept. 16.

Another World War II vet, Leon Nelson of Albion, hopes to be on a later flight to the same destination. He is currently recovering at Cloverlodge in St. Edward after a recent accident.

Plans call for the Sept. 16 Honor Flight to take 240 Nebraska and Iowa veterans in two airliners to Washington, DC.

Heartland Honor flight is hoping to organize another flight in October or November. There are now about 1,000 veterans on the waiting list.

Those going on the Sept. 16 flight applied in March and April.

Those traveling on Sept. 16 are asked to arrive for registration on the afternoon before the flight, and a supper and entertainment will be provided at the Holiday Inn, 72nd and Grover, Omaha, for the veterans and their guests. Their flight will leave at 5 a.m. the next morning.

Spouses and caretakers accompanying the veterans to Omaha, but not going on the Honor Flight, will be treated to a luncheon and garden tour in Omaha on Sept. 16.

Boone County residents helping the area veterans with planning and preparations for the trip include Karen Hagemann of Albion and Veterans Service Officer Jaci Wells of St. Edward.

Following is a brief synopsis of the military service of each of the five veterans preparing for the Honor Flight:

  • Fred Tiede served in the U.S. Army during World War II in Hawaii, New Guinea, The Philippines and Korea. He participated in the invasion of Luzan.
  • Leon Nelson served in the U.S. Army Infantry in the European Theatre during World War II. He participated in action from the landing on Omaha Beach to the Rhine River, where the U.S. Army met the Russian Army.
  • Orville Miller served in the U.S. Air Force as a flight engineer and gunner aboard a B-24 bomber. He was training with his flight crew at Murock Air Force Base, Arizona, preparing for the invasion of Japan when the Japanese surrendered to end World War II.
  • Charles (Vern) Claussen was an Army Medic during World War II. He served at Fort Knox, KY, and Fort Monroe, VA. One of the duties of his unit was also to provide medical care for German prisoners of war at Fort Knox.
  • Leo Baustert served just after World War II as an Army radio operator. He entered the Army in April, 1946, and was stationed in the United States. His final tour of duty was at Fort Monroe, VA, with an engineering battalion.