County Executive David Crowley joined 112 local veterans taking part in the “We Energies Stars and Stripes Honor Flight” that took off on April 23.

County Executive Crowley served as a guardian assigned to U.S. Navy veteran Walter Triplett, and ensure that he had a memorable trip visiting the memorials built honor all veterans in Washington DC. Triplett was the only Navy veteran on the Alpha flight, the other 25 were assigned to the Bravo flight.

“The Honor Flight program is an important tradition for veterans around the country. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to spend time with veterans who severed our nation in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam War on the 61st Stars and Stripes Honor Flight,” said County Executive Crowley. “Many generations of the Crowley family have served our country through the military, so I relish every opportunity to give back to our veterans and thank them for their service and their sacrifice.”

County Executive Crowley’s grandfather served in World War II. His uncle was killed in action in the Vietnam War. His name appears on at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, and the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington DC. County Executive Crowley had not previously been able to look for his uncle’s name on The Wall. He said he was excited about the opportunity, and found it on April 23.

Triplett, who grew up in Milwaukee and joined the Navy during the Vietnam War under Lyndon B. Johnson, said he did not have any friends with their name on The Wall. But he was very happy to visit the memorial with his fellow veterans, and see the historical sites around the nation’s capital.

Honor Flight is a national program with more than 130 hubs from coast to coast. Prior to this weekend’s flight, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight has flown 8,006 local veterans on an all-expense paid trip to Washington DC since 2008 and has honored more than 50 veterans locally who were not able to fly.

“This was a great opportunity to uplift our veterans, but also an important opportunity to elevate the Black and Brown veterans in our community who’ve historically been unrepresented in the veteran community. The history of feeling unseen and unheard has led to veterans of color underutilizing an incredible service meant to honor their contributions to protecting our nation,” added County Executive Crowley. “I hope to help send the message that the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight is available for all veterans who’ve served and sacrificed to defend our freedoms.”