Villager Bud Hagenbuch marked his 19th birthday in England as a member of the Army Air Corps.
During the war he served as a waist gunner aboard a B-17. Both of his brothers also served during World War II, one as a paratrooper and the other in the Marine Corps. All three brothers made it home.
Like so many of members of his generation, when the war ended Hagenbuch felt lucky to be alive. He focused on his family and a career.
“He really, really doesn’t talk about it,” said his wife Donna.
Now at 88, Hagenbuch is finally preparing to revisit some of those memories when he joins in the Nov. 2 Villages Honor Flight to Washington D.C.
His guardian on the trip will be Villager Allen Payne who served from 1958 to 1962 in the U.S. Coast Guard.
In Saturday’s pre-flight Honor Flight meeting at Lake Miona Recreation Center, Hagenbuch, his wife Donna, and his guardian all went through instruction in preparation for the trip to Washington D.C. to see the war memorials. Even though the spouses don’t make the trip, they play an important role prior to departure and in welcoming the veteran home, said Fran Entow of Honor Flight.
Villager Debbie Winters will be making her ninth Honor Flight trip. She will be guardian for Villager Manny “Jockey” Freitas.
Freitas served during the bitterly cold winter of the Battle of the Bulge.
“I nearly froze my feet off,” Freitas said.
To prepare for the possible chill on this trip, Busy Hands Happy Hearts is donating lap robes for the 25 veterans going on the trip. Veterans see the sights in wheelchairs pushed by their guardians and club members
“Our club members will be out there early that morning to make sure all the veterans have a lap robe for the trip. It could be cold up in Washington in November and it could be cold on the airplane,” said Busy Hands Happy Hearts club member Louise Fahey.
This will be the final trip of the year for Honor Flight. Trips won’t resume until next year when the weather warms up again.