Charles Hogue, 85, Toledo, was among the 90 World War II Korean War and Viet Nam era veterans on the latest Eastern Iowa Honor Flight on Oct. 16. Accompanied by guardians and Honor flight representatives a full plane load of more than 200 departed from the Eastern Iowa Airport at 7 a.m. last Tuesday.
The Eastern Iowa Honor Flights take U.S. military veterans to Washington D.C. to honor their service to their country and allow them to tour the national memorials and monuments dedicated to their service.
Hogue said the entire experience was well worthwhile with the opportunity to visit not only the World War II Memorial but those monuments honoring Korea and Viet Nam veterans and the Lincoln Memorial. In his career as an over-the-road truck driver he said he had been around Washington but had never been in the U.S. capital itself.
Hogue served in the U.S. Army Infantry from September, 1948 "For three years, nine months and 10 days."
Stationed in Germany, he had an extra years' time added to his three-year enlistment when the Korean War broke out.
Seeing the Honor Guard in action at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery last week undoubtedly brought back memories of his own service.
"We trained in the bombed-out cities an towns of World War II in Germany," he said. When the Korean War began his group was sent to Berlin where he was made a member of the Honor Guard there. He has a book of photos put together by his late wife Josefine (Joann) which show him in his service in the Honor Guard in Berlin.
Hogue says he almost wasn't a member of the Armed Forces.
A native of Mt. Ayr, Iowa, he said he tried to enlist during World War II. "Flat feet kept me out of World War II," he said. He said he was drafted and rejected because of his feet. "I kept trying different branches, but the (the record) followed you."
Not only did Charles get in his military service in Germany, he also met his wife.
Joann, a native of Poland, was one of the many young Poles, sent to Germany after her country was taken over.
Following liberation by the U.S. forces, she gained an assignment as secretary to Hogue's Lieutenant.
But that's not how he met her.
"I met my wife in 1949. it was a rainy day downtown and I was in uniform which tended to smell when they got wet. She was walking down the street with an umbrella and i asked if she minded If I walked under it, too." She agreed and he was able to get her telephone number, he said.
The Hogues had five children, Patty Henle and Diane Hogue, both of Toledo, Michael Hogue, Marshalltown, Richard Hogue, Bad Urach, Germany and the late Ronnie Hogue.
He said Patty and his late wife both had encouraged him to take the Honor Flights when they began. However, it wasn't until this year when Patty filled out his application when he finally took the trip.
He said the greeting the veterans received when they arrived in Washington was great and included fire trucks fire trucks forming an arc of water for their plane to pass through.
But the one when they returned and debarked at the Cedar Rapids airport "really got to me" as over 200 people lined up to form a reception line to congratulate them and welcome them home.