Local Vietnam vet cherishes honor flight experience - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Local Vietnam vet cherishes honor flight experience

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BERLIN CENTER, Ohio -

For 10 years, Honor Flight Columbus has been taking veterans to Washington D.C. to visit war memorials at no cost to them. Priority is given to World War II veterans and other veterans with terminal illness. 

Recently, there was a very unique honor flight for only Vietnam veterans with purple hearts. Berlin Center's Larry Truitt was on that flight.

Truitt was drafted into the Army in 1966. He found himself in Vietnam one year later. 

"First helicopter ride I had, I had three guys get shot on," said Truitt.

Eventually, Truitt, who was assigned to the first cavalry division, was shot, not once but twice. The first time, three rounds of ammunition he was carrying blew apart. Shrapnel pierced his body in several places. Truitt credits a small Bible in his chest pocket for saving his life.

"The top edge of it was shredded, but it went clear through the Bible, so it was enough, probably would have had a lot more metal in my chest," he said.

Thanks to his faith, Truitt survived Vietnam and received two purple hearts for his bravery.

Like many Vietnam vets though, Truitt was never given a hero’s welcome home. That all changed last month.

"All the signs and all the work they put into it, it was really wonderful," said Truitt.

Family and friends decided to give Truitt a special surprise party after he returned home from the very first Ohio Honor Flight for Vietnam veterans with purple hearts.

"Real privileged," he said.  It was an emotional trip for Truitt.

From his time at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, to mail call on the flight home; he received two big envelopes with cards and letters thanking him for his service. It took him five hours to read.

"It was really something. And some of the letters are really; you get emotional about them because they're just young kids and stuff," he said fighting back tears.

To cap it off, 2,000 people were at the Columbus airport to welcome the hero's home.

"Just finally great that they recognized us. Something we never got when we come back from Vietnam," said Truitt.

It was an overwhelming experience and long overdue for one of our Valley's Bravest.

"For a lifetime I'm going to remember this."

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