First Ever Permian Basin Honor Flight To Depart Wednesday Morning

First Ever Permian Basin Honor Flight To Depart Wednesday Morning

By Geena Martinez

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - After months of planning and fundraising, dozens of veterans will take off on the first-ever Permian Basin Honor Flight Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, those veterans were treated to a dinner at a send-off rally.

For many of these veterans, this trip will mark their first time in the nation's capitol.

"They're all very excited to go and we'll be ready in the morning," Jack Barnes, the Honor Flight Director, said.

After almost a year in the works, the Permian Basin Honor Flight is headed for Washington D.C.

"Odessa-Midland is the only city in the state of Texas that has not flown an honor flight," Barnes said. "With that in mind, we gotta do our part here in the Permian Basin and they're gonna do it," Barnes said.

Barnes said this trip has been a long time coming.

143 veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War will be on board.

"We have duty as citizens to extend that final gratitude to these men and women who serve, saved our country, saved our flag, saved our freedom," Barnes said.

The flight isn't just honoring veterans, but fallen heroes too. It'll be a bittersweet trip for Tommy Mills.

"We are still in war today, we are not getting too far away from it," Mills said.

His son, SSG Joshua Mills was killed in Afghanistan five years ago on September 16th.

"It's just great to see that we still remember our veterans and fallen soldiers," Mills said.

Mills said he's happy to be part of the ride.

"They might not be here tomorrow and this will be their last opportunity to see what America has done in their honor," Mills said,

Barnes said none of it would have been possible without the community's generosity.

"I'm very excited that the Permian Basin, the citizens, the corporate community, they responded in a big way," Barnes said.

The veterans will be visiting the war memorials, taking a tour of the capitol and stopping by the Smithsonian.