Remembering Heroes of America

Roughrider Honor Flight

September 10th and 11th I will be joining my Papa Wally on the Roughrider Honor Flight! I can’t even begin to express how filled with pride I am to be traveling to Washington DC with my Papa and many other men and women like him who served our country. What will we be doing with only 36 hours in D.C.? At first I didn’t know if we could get that much done, but they have an itinerary that doesn’t waste a minute. It is filled!

Friday, September 10th: We will get to the airport by 6:30am and leave by 8:30am.  The plane is full and we have others flying out of other cities that will be joining us in Washington DC. We will then arrive at Dulles International Airport in Washington DC by 12:30pm. After getting off the plane, we will go to our buses. Thank you Haymarket Transportation! ^_^  Papa and I are on the Blue Bus!

We will get lunch on the bus and at 1:45pm will arrive at Lincoln, Vietnam and Korean Memorials.  Having an hour and a half here, we will begin a Washington DC Driving Tour at 3:15pm.  Around 4:30 we will arrive at the hotel.  The name of the hotel is escaping me right now, but it is supposed to be a really lovely hotel.  A reception will be held from 6:00 to 7:00pm and dinner will be served afterwards.  The Roughrider Honor Team is going to hold a program at 7:30pm, where I imagine we will honor these men and women both in the room and those whose memorials we have visited or will be visiting tomorrow.  Papa and I will then be able to go around visiting others and gathering history in the best way possible – thru stories.  I do hope Papa will share his stories as well.

Saturday, September 11th: At 6:30 to 7:30am breakfast will be served and is supposed to be one of the finest breakfast services around, or so I’ve heard. ^_^  We will need to gather energy for the next couple hours of venturing they have in store for us.  We will board the buses at 7:45am, hoping to beat traffic and some heat.  We will arrive at the WWII Memorial by 8:15am.  At the WWII Memorial we will be taking a group picture!  They gave us all these wonderful hats and we will all have matching jackets they’re to give us when we arrive at the airport on Friday.  It’ll be a precious photo, at least I think so. 

At 10:15am we will visit the Iwo Jima Memorial; then it is off to the Arlington National Cemetery Visitors Center at 11:00am to begin a tram tour.  I’m not entirely sure what that will be like, but it will be “moving” for sure.  At 1:20pm we will have lunch served, again on the bus, while also having the possibility to drive past or visit the following locations:

  • Pentagon
  • Jefferson Memorial
  • Capitol
  • White House
  • Fords Theatre
  • Washington Cathedral
  • Watergate Hotel
  • Air Force Memorial
  • FDR Memorial
  • 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon
  • Embassy row
  • Navy Memorial
  • Air and Space Museum at Dulles

 

Then we bid farewell to Washington DC, arriving at Dulles International Airport by 5:00pm.  It will be a lot to get in but it will definitely be an experience of a lifetime.  I will be posting photos and stories from my trip so don’t forget to check back for them! Take care until then and please read some of my Papa’s history below! ^_^v

 

Wallace A. Erickson

Brief Military Biography

 I joined the United States Army on October 5, 1946, just out of high school.  I received my Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  I was sent to Japan occupation in December of that year.  We spent the winter in tents in Osaka.  In the spring of 1947, I was transferred to Tokyo where I was assigned to an Engineer Battalion.  I spent my time supervising reconstruction projects such as a gas plant and a hotel.  When I arrived in Tokyo, there was not a house between Tokyo and Yokahama.  When I departed a year later, it was all built up.

On the way out of the discharge office, military personnel said if we wanted to, we could sign up for the Army Reserves, and a number of us did.  I had attended college for two years when I was called up and sent to Korea, assigned to the 24th Infantry Division.  I was assigned to a rifle platoon as a “machine gunner”, so I spent a year carrying this 30 caliber machine gun up and down and across Korea three times.  While in a fox hole on a mountaintop, I received my discharge from the Army Reserves, but the Army would not let me go home.  Spending a winter on the mountaintops in minus 10 to minus 40 degrees with only a summer sleeping bag was not very comfortable!

I crossed the 38th parallel three times back and forth.  I skipped my time off for R&R to Japan so I could go home earlier.  I got out of Korea just before “Pork Chop Hill” where my outfit took heavy casualties.

After graduating from the UND, I purchased a Standard Oil Service Station in ND.  I operated the station for 42 years until retirement.  I now reside in ND.  I have 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 1 great granddaughter.

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