Local military veterans take Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

SAN DIEGO - A group of 80 veterans have shown they'd do anything for this country. They left Lindbergh Field Friday morning on an Honor Flight to thank them for making it a better place.

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Carl Albers couldn't wait, saying, "I think it's been 60 years or better since I retired, and I haven't gone anyplace!"

Albers is heading to Washington, D.C., and at 99 years old, he was the oldest veteran on the flight.

"But, I'm still alive and kicking," he said.

The World War II veterans shuffled down the aisle to pick a seat and swapped war stories about their days in combat boots.

Joe Preston used to fly P-47s. He was a prisoner of war and he was he was shot down twice. It was no surprise he was happy to sit back and enjoy the flight.

"I'm looking forward to it," Preston said. "A lot of the monuments I read about but never saw. I'm anxious to see them all."

He's most excited to see the National World War II Memorial, in part because of three guys he used to fly with.

"One of them, I knew where he crashed," Preston explained. "The other two ... I don't know where they crashed. Never heard from them again."

He hopes to find their names so he can finally say goodbye to old friends. Maybe he'll even make new ones.

Albers was just grateful for a chance to go somewhere and to be honored doing it.

"Oh, God bless you, all you people that did this. You're nice to do it," Albers said.

It should only get better when they come home on Sunday and receive a true hero's welcome.

The nonprofit Honor Flight San Diego pays for it through fundraisers and donations.

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