Traditional Values

World War II Vet Took the Honor Flight to Washington, Didn’t Make It Home Alive

Frank Manchel, 95, was on the return trip when he collapsed

A World War II veteran recently enjoyed the life-affirming experience of an Honor Flight from his home in the San Diego area to Washington, D.C.

But on the return trip home to San Diego, Frank Manchel, 95, collapsed on board the airplane and died, the organization that organized and arranged the flight said.

Manchel, accompanied by his son, Bruce Manchel, took a trip organized by Honor Flight San Diego.

He boarded the flight back home to San Diego on Sunday, from Baltimore Washington International Airport, after enjoying the weekend in the nation’s capital with family and friends.

During the flight back home, Manchel collapsed.

“The fella who caught my dad came up to me and said, ‘Listen, your dad, within five seconds of having him in my arms, was gone,’” said Bruce Manchel, the veteran’s son, as Fox5SanDiego reported.

Others on the flight tried to resuscitate Manchel — but he was pronounced dead, according to a number of outlets.

Manchel served as a sergeant in the United States Army during World War II.

“Frank Manchel was so excited to go on his Honor Flight. This trip was so special because he was able to be with both of his sons as well as his 93-year-old brother.”

Bruce Manchel, the son, said the Honor Flight was a wonderful last experience for his father.

“Frank Manchel was so excited to go on his Honor Flight. This trip was so special because he was able to be with both of his sons as well as his 93-year-old brother, who met him in Washington, D.C.,” the son said in a written statement.

“My father’s passing was the ending to the most amazing weekend, surrounded by his newest best friends. We thank all of you — Honor Flight San Diego, American Airlines, San Diego International Airport, friends, and supporters for your concern and for allowing the weekend to be so special for all of us to share together.”

Manchel’s body was draped in an American flag that the organizers carry with them on every Honor Flight.

Related: Trump Keeps His Promise to a 95-Year-Old World War II Vet

As his body was carried off the plane, members of the medical, firefighter and law enforcement personnel at Lindbergh Field all saluted him.

The Honor Flight Network, a not-for-profit organization, honors America’s veterans for their sacrifices by transporting “our heroes to Washington, D.C., to visit and reflect at their memorials,” the group notes on its website.

“Top priority is given to the senior veterans — World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.”

“Of all of the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation — and as a culturally diverse, free society. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII veterans die each day. Our time to express our thanks to these brave men and women is running out,” the group says.

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