First female honor flight tells a story seldom told

Veterans Voices

Theirs is a story seldom told. 

The first woman to enlist in the U.S. Military was Loretta Walsh in 1917 but it wasn’t until 1948 that Congress made women a permanent part of the military services.

If you ask many women veterans, they will tell you they feel as if their military service didn’t count for much—certainly not as much as their male counterparts.

Those times are changing, and it’s happening in the air.

In 2005, ‘Honor Flights’ began with World War II veterans—taking them on a chartered plane to Washington, D.C. to see with their own eyes, the national monuments built to honor veterans of foreign wars.

In time, Korean War veterans were added to the passenger list.  Most recently, Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans have also taken the trip.

Honor Flight Chicago runs all of it’s programs with volunteers and with donations to pay for the expensive trips.  If you’re able to volunteer or donate, visit.

On October 6, 2021—there was a first.  The first all-female Honor Flight, organized by Honor Flight Chicago and paid for with donations. The flight took off from Chicago’s Midway airport aboard a charted Southwest Airlines 737.

Among the 93 veterans—two veterans of the Second World War.  Josephine Bogdanich, who turned 105 the week after the flight, was a Sergeant in the Army.  Bette Horstman, who’ll turn 100 in December, was a First Lieutenant in the Army and served as a Physical Therapist in Saipan, Oahu, Guam and Texas.  She helped to rehabilitate other service members who were injured in battle.

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