Seven area veterans, and maybe more, will visit Washington, D.C., early next month, thanks to the Dublin AM Rotary.

Seven area veterans, and maybe more, will visit Washington, D.C., early next month, thanks to the Dublin AM Rotary.

As of last week, seven military veterans were set to make the free trip to visit several memorials in Washington, D.C.

"The pilots donate their time, airplane and fuel," said pilot and Dublin AM Rotary member Dave Williamson. "The club pays for ground transport and meals."

The trip could potentially use four planes this year, Williamson said, and three out of four pilots are Dublin AM Rotary members.

"One pilot is a (Kiwanis member). He's a good friend of our pilots and stepped up and said 'If you need me, I'm available,'" Williamson said.

With seven vets set for the trip as of last week Williamson said one or two more may join in along with three caregivers, this year's group is bigger than the inaugural trip last year.

Veterans were recruited for the trip through Dublin AM Rotary members. Williamson said he contacted the local VFW post to make sure they weren't neglecting any World War II or Korean War veterans.

"The main thrust is the club has been very active in trying to ensure that as many veterans as possible have the opportunity to make this trip," he said.

The group will depart at 6:30 a.m. Oct. 3 from Don Scott Field, taking the veterans to a small airport outside of Washington, D.C. After an hourlong car ride, the first stop will be the National World War II Memorial, followed by the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Although no Vietnam War veterans are making this trip, Williamson said they're also planning to stop at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is near the others.

After lunch the group will visit the Air Force memorial, Arlington Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Iwo Jima Memorial. Plans are to land in Columbus at 7 or 7:30 p.m.

"It's a long day," Williamson said. "We're covering a lot of ground in a short time, but we do it at the pace that the veterans are willing to go. We'll cover the main ones for them. It's their day."

The World War II and Korean War memorials will be the main goals. Williamson said the veterans on this year's trip are WWII and Korean War veterans in their 70s and 80s.

As the Dublin AM Rotary's annual honor flight goes on, they'll expand the search for veterans.

"What we're focusing on is the WWII and Korean War vets because they are the remaining members of that generation," William-son said. "Then we'll probably start looking for Vietnam War veterans. Many of us are around, but some of us are less physically healthy than others. We'll start looking for those who haven't been on one of these trips or haven't had the chance to make the trip (themselves)."

jnoblit@thisweeknews.com

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