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Huggins goes on ‘Honor Flight’ “An experience I will never forget”

Joyce M. Searson, Publisher

World War II Veteran James ‘Jim’ N. Huggins was surrounded by American flags as he prepared to board the ‘Honor Flight’ to Washington D.C. on Wednesday, November 9th at the Columbia Airport.

The Honor Flight recognizes World War II American veterans and terminally ill veterans from all wars for their sacrifices and achievements by flying them to Washington, D.C. to see their memorial at no cost to them. The Honor Flight is a one day flight which leaves Columbia at 8 am and arrives back at 8:30 pm.

Huggins says this is an experience he will never forget. “It was very humbling and moving to go there with your fellow veterans to see the World War II Memorial. The tour was very touching and the guide explained everything about the memorial.”

He said all the disabled veterans in wheelchairs had a guardian by their side to take care of all their needs.

“I just can’t say enough about how well planned the flight was and all the effort put forth to make all this happen….the execution of the flight was perfect. There was a great reception in Washington, DC, and even more touching was the welcome we received when the plane landed back in Columbia.”

There were hundreds of people waiting at the airport waving and flying American flags while the 282nd Army Band from Fort Jackson greeted them with patriotic music.

He said the youngest veteran on the flight was 83 and the oldest was 98.

Huggins was an Electrician’s Mate, 3rd Class, in the United States Navy during World War II. He served 22 months and 11 days in the last campaign of the war. He was in the US Naval CB (Construction Battalion) which built a pier over the coral reef so the ships could be unloaded during the invasion of Okinawa, Japan.

“I recommend that all World War II veterans take this flight…This is an experience that you don’t want to miss,” said Huggins.

Huggins and his wife, Eloise, live in the Hunter's Chapel Community in Bamberg. He has two sons, Roger and Timothy and a deceased son, Wendal.

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