Posted on Mar 05, 2023
Ruth Gunther (upper right, left) and Saundra Cima (upper right, right) presented on Honor Flight San Diego and Ruth told of her personal experience working in the Hospital Corp in World War II (photos of previous trips courtesy Honor Flight San Diego)
Saundra Cima and Winona Ruth Gunther visited our March 2, 2023 meeting to tell us about Honor Flight San Diego. Since 2005, Honor Flight has been escorting veterans to Washington D.C. to visit memorials that have been built in their honor. In 2010 Dave Smith, the son of a World War II veteran, founded the Honor Flight San Diego hub, which has since flown over 1,500 veterans from every branch of service to Washington. The trips are funded entirely by private donations and the staff is all-volunteer so that all funds raised go to providing veterans with their tour of honor at no cost to t hem. Each packed weekend trip features a number of stops: Arlington National Cemetery, Military Women in Service, WWII Memorial, Korea War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, U.S. Air Force Memorial and the U.S. Navy Yard Museum.
In October 2021 Ruth Gunther took her tour of honor. Ruth is now 103 and she told us about her work as a nurse during World War II.  Pearl Harbor was attacked when Ruth was 21 years old and working in a drugstore as an apprentice pharmacist.  She said she felt drawn to contribute to the war effort. Ruth wanted to train as a physician, but met pushback and instead began serving in the Hospital Corp as a member of the US Navy WAVES in 1943. At the Corona Naval Hospital in Norco California, Ruth cared for sailors and Marines who had been seriously injured in the Pacific Theater. Ruth has authored two books: ‘What Would Your Father Say’ that describes her work during the war, and “Papa Said” that tells story of growing up on a farm in north central Indiana near the Wabash river.
There are many ways you can help veterans like Ruth take their tour of honor. Honor Flight San Diego publishes a newsletter (or follow them on Facebook) and always welcomes donations to support upcoming charter flights. You can attend a Welcome Home at the San Diego International Airport. The next flight comes home April 30, 2023 and all are welcome to gather at the Terminal 2 baggage claim at 2 PM to be part of the return celebration.  You can also encourage family and friends (especially young people) to contribute cards and letters that are delivered during “Mail Call”.  These cards are an excellent way to provide a personal note of gratitude to the veterans.  Send Mail Call letters care of Donna Hester, 645 Front Street, San Diego, CA 92101 ( Letters must be received by April 22. Happy Dollars at the March 9 meeting will be devoted to Honor Flight.