October Badger Honor Flights cancel, organizers look to next year

The COVID-19 pandemic has grounded Badger Honor Flights. The last flight on Nov. 2, 2019, had 88 veterans on board, according to the Badger Honor Flight website.

The surge of COVID-19 delta variant cases has grounded the highly anticipated Badger Honor Flights scheduled for this month.

Badger Honor Flight Board of Directors canceled the Oct. 2 and Oct. 23 flights after almost two years of being grounded during the pandemic.

Board members said their decision was made to keep veterans, volunteers and supporters safe. Vaccination requirements were just one precaution that flight participants and volunteers were expected to take.

The Badger Honor Flights stopped last year as the COVID-19 pandemic virus hit the United States. The last flight on Nov. 2, 2019 had 88 veterans on board, according to the Badger Honor Flight website.

The October 2021 Badger Honor Flights would have given priority to World War II and terminally ill veterans, then Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. The flight halt has meant some veterans died before they were able to make the trip, organizers said.

Each Honor Flight chapter makes its own decision to fly. Other Wisconsin Honor Flights networks have remained grounded, while the Milwaukee-based Stars and Stripes Honor Flight chapter flew veterans in September.

Badger Honor Flight officials say there may be other options available for terminally ill veterans who want to fly and they should contact officials at Medical@badgerhonorflight.org.

Wisconsin’s Badger Honor Flight has taken more than 1,200 veterans on the one-day trip to Washington to visit the Arlington National Cemetery, World War II Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Pentagon.

Veterans travel for free on Badger Honor Flights, thanks to private donations, sponsorships and fundraising efforts. It costs around $100,000 to operate a flight.

Badger Honor Flight fundraisers have continued with expectations for flights returning soon.

For more information regarding Badger Honor Flight, visit www.badgerhonorflight.org.

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