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.
We are learning more about the Honor Flight veteran who passed away on the flight home from D.C. Frank Manchel was 95 and a WWII Army Veteran. When doctors were unable to revive Mr. Manchel an American flag was placed over him.
— Amanda Brandeis (@10NewsBrandeis) May 6, 2019
WWII veteran from San Diego dies on the final leg of Honor Flight
“It is with our most deepest sympathy that we send our condolences to the Frank Manchel family.”
— Andrew Paterson (@andrewwpaterson) May 7, 2019
“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.”
Army veteran Frank Manchel died on an Honor Flight returning to San Diego from Washington. He had spent the weekend being honored for his World War II service https://t.co/QZvFhxF5Qx
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) May 7, 2019
So, my FIL passed away on board an Honor Flight back to San Diego this afternoon. My MIL and I were at the airport w 100s of others waving flags awaiting the heroes when I got the news. I'm devastated. Who will i discuss trump w now? Hit me harder than I expected. RiP Frank …
— Janine Manchel (@pestibear) May 6, 2019
Manchel’s body was draped in an American flag that the organizers carry with them on every Honor Flight.
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.