BILLINGS - Two Korean War Veterans returned home to Billings on Sunday after a trip to Washington, D.C.
The two lifelong friends said it was a trip of a lifetime.
Family members gathered an hour before the two were set to arrive at Billings-Logan International Airport.
They were eagerly anticipating the arrival of Bill Daem, a US Air Force veteran, and Irvin Scheidt, a Marine veteran, as they returned home from their Honor Flight trip.
When the 87-year-olds came around the corner at the airport, they were not expecting to see the crowd gathered for them at the bottom of the stairs.
“I was just shocked because I wasn’t expecting anything like this,” Scheidt said.
“Well, the only thing, I was a little bit suspicious when he told me put your shirt back on,” Daem said.
Scheidt was accompanied on the trip by his son Greg and Daem brought his son John.
“They must have done a good job because we got back,” Daem said laughing.
The trip was organized by Honor Flight a non-profit organization dedicated to transporting as many U.S. military veterans as possible to see the memorials of wars they fought in, all at no cost to the veterans.
They all say they had a fantastic experience on the trip, touring monuments and meeting other veterans from across the country.
“It was wonderful for me. I’ll never experience this again. I thought it was going to be good, but I didn’t know it was this good,” Scheidt said.
Daem and Scheidt both attended Custer High School. They knew their draft number was coming up so a group from the high school decided to enlist.
“If you enlist you get to go where you want to go. So, six of us went up to Billings and we all enlisted,” Scheidt said.
Both men were very appreciative of the Honor Flight and the trip they just had.
“I think they really showed their appreciation for us,” Scheidt.
“I just can’t thank enough, whoever it was, that got us involved in it and I’m just excited to find out who is going to be going next,” Daem said.