In March 2012, for the first time in nearly 70 years, a group of World War II veterans returned to the islands of the South Pacific. The trip, hosted by American, Air Compassion for Veterans and The Greatest Generations Foundation, commemorated the lives that were sacrificed in some of the deadliest battles of World War II. History students from The Ohio State University accompanied the veterans and documented their stories of heroism.
The trip included visits to battle sites, bunkers, monuments and landing beaches on Guam, Saipan, and Tinian. It also featured a special visit to the uninhabited island of Iwo Jima. Private services were held in honor of those who were wounded and in memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Transportation for the group was provided by American Airlines through its partnership with Air Compassion for Veterans (ACV), an organization that provides flights for service members, veterans and their families to receive medical and rehabilitation services. A portion of fuel savings generated by Fuel Smart, American Airlines employees’ fuel-conservation program, is donated to Air Compassion for Veterans. American and ACV teamed up for this trip to support The Greatest Generations Foundation’s mission to promote recognition and respect for the U.S. and Allied war veterans, while enhancing historical education for today’s youth.
Prior to their departure at Los Angeles International Airport, the veterans and students received a patriotic send-off ceremony hosted by American Airlines employees. Employees at Honolulu International Airport welcomed the group with leis when they arrived and arranged for comfortable accommodations prior to their final leg of the journey.