Seventeen U.S. veterans met at Estrella Warbirds Museum to fly in the Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber
PASO ROBLES — Seventeen U.S. veterans took flight on Saturday, Aug. 27, in the “Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber,” a restored World War II C-47 aircraft, for an Honor Flight around the Central Coast.
Aboard Betsy were two WWII veterans, one pre-Vietnam veteran who served between Korea and Vietnam, and 14 Vietnam veterans. They came to the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles for take-off from areas ranging from Santa Ynez to Paso Robles. All of them have been waiting their turn for an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., for their Tour of Honor.
“The flight yesterday turned out better than we could have expected,” said Flight Coordinator for Honor Flight, Caralee Wade. “Our team at Honor Flight worked hard with the Gooney Birds and the staff at the Warbirds museum in putting it all together, and it all came off without a hitch.”
The flight was gifted to Honor Flight Central Coast California by the Estrella Warbirds Museum and plane owners, the Gooney Birds, to thank the veterans who have been waiting on the long wait list for their Washington, D.C., trip.
Honor Flight Central Coast California is a nonprofit organization that takes veterans to Washington, D.C., for a Tour of Honor trip to see the memorials honoring their service. The Saturday Honor Flight took veterans on a 40-minute tour over Morro Rock and Hearst Castle.
“Welcome Home Military came to help welcome them back,” said Wade. “Our communities helped at the two piers in Cayucos and San Simeon and even at Heritage Ranch show their support with flags waving as they flew past.”
Waiting for the veterans back at Warbirds was the El Paso de Robles Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).
“As Regent of the El Paso de Robles Chapter, NSDAR, I was very honored to have our chapter participate in the welcoming home of the Honor Flight this past Saturday,” El Paso de Robles Chapter Regent Susan Howard said. “Seven members of our chapter were able to attend the ceremony and honor our heroes.”
Due to COVID precautions, Honor Flights were delayed, but flights are back running.
The Honor Flight organization was originally focused on WWII veterans, but the flights are open to any veteran of any era. Vietnam veterans now make up the biggest proportion of veterans on the flights.
“The veterans exited the plane with big smiles and huge hugs, thanking us for a flight they will always remember,” Wade said.
The next Honor Flight will be Oct. 24-26 and will be the last one of the year. More details on the flight will be available at a later date.
For more information on Honor Flight, visit honorflightccc.org