Valley WWII Veterans Arrive To Heroes Welcome - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Valley WWII Veterans Arrive To Heroes Welcome

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WASHINGTON (KMPH) -

The Central Valley Honor Flight has landed.  KMPH anchor Rich Rodriguez was in Baltimore to witness a patriotic salute to former warriors from World War II.
It was a heroes welcome in Maryland that most of the veterans never saw coming.

The greeter was loaded with lipstick and she wasn't shy, kissing each veteran on the cheek as he came off the plane.

Army veteran from Tulare, Keith Coughran said, "It felt awesome.  I really appreciate that.  We had a lot of blood sweat and tears during the service but that paid for it almost there."

Strangers passing through Baltimore Washington International Airport stopped to applaud the 69 featured passengers on the Central Valley Honor Flight.  It made them feel like 5-star generals.

Air Force veteran Rudy Giannoni from Fresno said, "With all these cheers like this it's fantastic.  It's something unbelievable.  It just makes you feel you want to tear up but you feel great which I do."

These World War II veterans fought in the Pacific and Europe.  Phillip Benson is an Army veteran from Madera who is proud to wear his cap.  He is one of thousands of soldiers who hit the beach in Normandy.  So far he's steered clear of telling war stories. "No, we haven't had any stories but we can make them up as we go along," laughed Phillip.

Three buses carrying the honor flight and their chaperones didn't travel far.  They stopped at the American Legion Post 40 near the airport for chow.  They will also be treated to a barbecue on Tuesday and then a luncheon on Wednesday at the Library of Congress.  They'll need the fuel because they've got five memorials to see on Wednesday.

Rich Rodriguez will be with the group all week and bringing you their stories on the KMPH News.

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