On the April 22 Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, COL (Ret) Sam Thiessen, Chapter Leader from the AUSA Denver Centennial Chapter, escorted his Dad, Technician Second Class, LaVoy "Bud" Thiessen, to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Bud Thiessen, rural Chelsea is an 85 year-old World War II Veteran, and was part of a group of 86 enthusiastic and energetic World War II veterans and accompanying family members who traveled together for the 6th Eastern Iowa Honor Flight. Others in Thiessen's escort were his granddaughter, Erin, (daughter of Joe and Becky Thiessen, rural Toledo) her husband, Brian, and their 11-year-old daughter, Lauren.
Thiessen's wife, Marlene, was the person who encouraged her husband to take this trip to DC.
LaVoy “Bud”?Thiessen (center) is shown in Washington D.C. during the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight on April 22. With him are family members, great granddaughter Lauren, son Sam and granddaughter, Erin at the Iowa memorial part of the WW II monument.
As COL. Thiessen said, "We flew out of Cedar Rapids, at 7:30 a.m. and got back around 10:30 p.m.on the same day. You might guess that it was exhausting, but my Dad, who naps like a dog, never closed his eyes. We were greeted everywhere with great enthusiasm and respect. Many hands reached out to the Vets. Nowhere was the reception better than when we returned to the Cedar Rapids Airport."
In addition to the Veterans and their family members going to the WW II Memorial, they toured the Washington Mall, Lincoln Memorial, Korean and Vietnam Memorials as well as the Air Force and Iwo Jima Memorials eventually culminating the day at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
COL Thiessen said his father was drafted and served in the Pacific Theater. He went on to say about his Dad that, "he was with the occupation force in Nagasaki after the A-bombs were dropped, which occurred while he and others were on troop ships headed toward Japan, ostensibly to participate in Operation Olympic. Olympic was to be the opening phase of the planned invasion of Japan that would have been much larger than D-Day invasion. Undoubtedly many lives on both sides were saved by dropping the bombs."
In simple terms COL Thiessen said, "Can't say enough about how great an experience this was, it truly is indescribable."