Georgetown’s Rodger Jones will be a special guest on Honor Flight #64, which is reserved exclusively for Vietnam Veterans and is flying November 1. Rodger and his wife, Barbara have been residents of Georgetown for 11 years.
The VIP Veterans will visit all of the combat memorials in the Nation’s Capital; the Vietnam Wall, Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Korean and World War II memorials, and more.
Honor Flight is especially poignant for the special details the agency includes on every flight—most importantly, the rules at the airport are relaxed, ONLY for Honor Flights, to allow family, friends and well-wishers to greet their returning vets with signs, flags and posters. Barbara says, “That is something Vietnam Veterans never had, the welcome home they so richly deserved all those years ago.”
Rodger Jones served 37 years in the Marine Corps and Air Force. He was immediately deployed to Vietnam when he enlisted in the Corps and when he came home from combat, he enjoyed civilian life for two years before rejoining the Air Force and completed his service as a logistics officer.
Rodger was PCSed (permanent change of station) multiple times and sometimes to locations his family could not move to as well due to the nature of his work. “When people thank him for his service,” Barbara says, “I stick my hand out and tell them I worked every day of those 37 years.”
Rodger’s final deployment, before retiring, was to Iraq. He is one of a small group of veterans who served from Vietnam to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Rodger says he is looking forward to being able to share stories with people who were ‘there.’ “He talks to me a lot,” says Barbara. “But he always says I wouldn’t understand. He doesn’t talk about it, he won’t watch movies or television shows about the wars. He does wear his apparel sometimes and when he meets people with the same campaign ribbons, he lights up and I go about my business and leave him to enjoy the camaraderie. He’s always more animated after he has those talks.”
The Jones’ have sons and grandsons who are Marines so he can talk to them but most veterans say, until a person is really in theater, he or she really can’t understand.
Rodger says he is also looking forward to seeing the wall for personal reasons. He lost a cousin in the Conflict and Rodger was the one who brought him home. His primary goal at the wall is to find his cousin’s name and make an impression of it.
Honor Flight has had many special flights since they began operations in 2013. While it began with World War II Veterans after the construction of that memorial, there have since been all Sun City flights, POWs, Korean and now Vietnam flights.
Any Veterans interested in the program may apply for a future flight at HonorFlightAustin.org.