Missoula Vets Return Home From Final WWII Honor Flight - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Missoula Vets Return Home From Final WWII Honor Flight

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MISSOULA - The ninth and final World War II Big Sky Honor Flight makes its final trip home. ABC FOX Montana's Ashley Sanchez caught three Missoula veterans during their homecoming in Missoula.

"I met him right when he got out of the service, and we went together a year and a half and got married," said American Legion Member Arlyce Schliebe.

Arlyce was excited as she waited this afternoon for her husband of more than 67 years to return from the ninth and final World War II Big Sky Honor Flight.

When her husband and two other world war two vets, all escorted by a vietnam vet returned, the excitement could hardly be contained.

"It was emotional alright," Arlyce said.

The trip had a special meaning to Arlyce's husband, Jerry Schliebe, who served in the Navy for about two years.

"I lost a brother during a war, and there were three of us in service at time," Jerry said.

Jerry almost didn't go on the honor flight, and was one of the last veterans to sign up for the trip.

"Since this is going to be the last one, I said 'you better get signed up if your going to go,'" Arlyce said.

"I figured there's more people that deserved it than I do, but I'm happy to have gone," Jerry said.

In two years the flight, funded by donations, has taken more than 700 World War II Montana veterans from Billings to Washington D.C. at no cost.

"You couldn't imagine the crowd, the people, the effort they put it in," said veteran Martin Behner.

Behner and Missoula vet Robert Rheinschmidt also returned on Tuesday.

"I was in the Navy, a radio man second class," Rheinschmidt said.

This weekend Rheinschmidt said he felt more like the president than a vet.

"This was a tremendous flight and the people who put it on had to be perfect in their planning," Rheinschmidt said.

Behner, who served 11 years in the military, fighting for the Marine Corps, Navy Reserve and Army, lost his wife two years ago. He said it was an emotional weekend.

"The main thing was I sure wish my wife was alive and went with me," Behner said.

Even through the emotion, the vets say the trip was a once in a life time opportunity they never dreamed of having.

"You couldn't imagine, I didn't, it but they did it." Behner said.

After this trip, the Honor Flight Program will likely move to Missoula for the Korean and Vietnam Veterans to travel to Washington D.C. to see their memorials.

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