Vets enjoy Honor Flight

Published 11:19 am Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two Atmore residents received a hero’s welcome Wednesday when they returned home from the final Honor Flight, which transports World War II veterans to and from the WWII monument in Washington D.C. during the course of one day.

Giles Chapman and Mark Forte represented Atmore on the final flight and both men said it was an emotional experience to see the monument.

“It was great,” Forte said. Forte served in the South Pacific during the war as part of the U.S. Navy. He returned home to Atmore in 1943, where he has lived ever since.

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Chapman, originally from Grove Hill, served in the Navy as a letter carrier on the U.S.S. Los Angeles from 1946 to 1948.

“It was emotional,” Chapman said of the Honor Flight experience. “The people who designed this flight really knew what they were doing. You didn’t want for anything. Everything was how it should be.”

Chapman returned to Alabama following the war and worked as a pharmaceutical salesman for McKesson Drug Company in Mobile. Chapman said Atmore was part of his territory, which is how he later decided to call the city home.

Now the two veterans can join the long list of Atmore residents who have been chosen for the flight.

Forte said he was glad he got the opportunity before the program ended.

“I was happy about that,” he said.

The Honor Flight program has existed for eight years. It began in 2005 as a non-profit organization with the sole goal of transporting as many United States veterans to visit the memorial as possible.