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92-year-old sees memorials, believes other WWII vets shouldn't pass up Never Forgotten Honor FlightSubmitted: 10/15/2015
Story By Adam Fox


WASHINGTON D.C. - Of the 95 veterans on Monday's Never Forgotten Honor Flight, only one served during World War II. Many veterans of that war are at least 90 or older. At that age, some don't think they can handle two flights and all the travel in one day. However, Earl Uecke, 92 of Lake Tomahawk, doesn't think other vets around his age should pass up the opportunity.

"When I see what they did, taking this one gentleman, who was not very mobile, I was most pleased that they were able to do that, to put him on the plane and off the plane and everything, they've done and exceptional job." Uecke said.

Uecke had been to Washington D.C. plenty of times before with his family, but he had never been to the memorials in the nation's capital. He also said WWII gave him the opportunity to see a new part of the world.
"First of all, I was a kid from Wisconsin and had only been in three states until I got there, and until the Army sent me all over on the free trip overseas."

That free trip put Uecke in the European theatre. He didn't fight on the front line. Instead, his job was to drive important intelligence across the continent as a signal motor messenger. Uecke did his part and served his country. He remembers seeing the horrors of a concentration camp one day after it was liberated. But like so many people during that time period, he lost friends along the way.

"We had seven kids killed during World War II out of my high school graduating class," Uecke said. "And a couple of them were good close friends of mine."

Uecke thought of those men while visiting the WWII Memorial Monday with his son Gary. It was the 92-year-old's first time at the memorial.He said he was also pleased to see the Vietnam and Korean War vets on the trip east, but only one memorial was his favorite.

"The highlight to me was of course the World War II Memorial cause I'm a little prejudice," Uecke said.
The group was greeted by hundreds of veterans, family members, strangers and others as they returned home to Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee after a tolling day of travel.

During that final highlight after a long day, the 92-year-old didn't need any help walking through the welcome home.

This is the second of a four-part series covering the 22nd Never Forgotten Honor Flight. The next story will run Friday on Newswatch 12 at 6 p.m.



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