Oklahoma veterans finally get the homecoming they never had

Posted at 4:04 PM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 06:25:22-04

Soldier’s homecomings weren’t so popular as they are now.

One Oklahoma Vietnam veteran remembers being greeted by protestors and being spat on.

One group is helping change that awful memory…

“This is the most incredible welcome home a soldier could ever want to have,” said Nash Lamb, a Vietnam War veteran from Pryor.

75 veterans got the chance of a lifetime to fly to Washington, D.C. and see their war memorials.

This flight is from all over Oklahoma and Arkansas.

They all have a story to tell…

“If I was asked to go and serve—I just had my 83rd birthday yesterday. I guarantee you this 83-year-old would be right in the midst of it,” said Edward Randall, a Korean War Veteran from Arkansas.

Or something to share about living life.

“Unless you keep moving it, you’re going to lose it,” said Richard Keller, who joined the Navy towards the end of World War II.

Everywhere these heroes went, a full police motorcade led the way.

Organizers made sure every minute on the ground in Washington wasn’t wasted during the all-day trip.

“I think it’s a fitting tribute to an ugly war,” said Lamb, pointing to the Vietnam War Memorial.

Lamb served in Vietnam as a medevac pilot.

“It’s almost like I think I know half a dozen of these guys because they’re in the back of my aircraft at one time or another, yet I never got their names. Don’t know where they came from. Don’t know how they got hurt,” said Lamb.

Lamb thinks he rescued 2,200 soldiers during his time in Vietnam.

He was welcomed homed in 1968 by war protestors.

“When I arrived in Seattle, they spit on me. They called me baby killers, they booed me, they threw stuff. That was not right, but that’s the way it was back then and I’m not the only one that went through that a lot of people went through that,” said Lamb.

Now the Vietnam Wall is part of his memory.

 “But here it's live. Their names are here. People’s memories are here. It’s powerful in here,” said Lamb.

Four decades later, Lamb is sharing his experience in Vietnam with his son.

“And the reception today Greg will tell ya, I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat you know? I probably had a little tear going down my eye because it was so so special to get to do it,” said Lamb.

This honor flight is more than just the police escorts and memorial tours, it’s a chance for all of us to stop and give a thank you to those who never got one.

“It’s gone above and beyond anything that I thought was going to happen, to see the police escort, the fire trucks stopping all traffic, intersections blocked off, firemen spraying water over airplane as we leave, it’s how it should be,” said Greg Lamb, Lamb’s son.

“These past couple of days just helped my life—wonderful thanks so much for being here Channel 2,” said Lamb.

The Oklahoma - Arkansas Honor Flight group is planning another trip in the Fall.

To learn more about the group, you can click here.

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