Honor Flight chapters are typically organized to fly a few large flights (normally charters) each year or many smaller flights. When Villages Honor Flight, Inc. (VHF) was new, building capability; we opted for the “fly small / fly often” model.
We fly commercial out of Orlando (MCO) currently taking 40+ vets and 40+ guardians plus a few support staff on each flight. In the beginning. Our missions kept growing taking more and more vets that in 2016 VHF began the Flightless Program. Now, in addition to the four regular flights to D.C., VHF offers two flightless missions for those unable of making the arduous journey to D.C.
Our vet-to-guardian ratio is 1 to 1.
Each flight is really more than just a flight, it is a mission. Each “Mission” consists of 5 elements:
|Preflight Meeting||6 weeks before flight||Introduce vets and guardians, preliminary guardian training, medical screening, take pictures, general orientation, opportunity to socialize (vet, guardian and squad mates), Q&A|
|Actual Flight||Flight Day||Send-Off and Homecoming|
|Soon after flight||Feedback session with guardians and staff|
|Reunion||A month or two after the flight||Opportunity for all flight participants to get together and share experiences; open to all flight participants and their families|
- Teams: Each mission is made up of 25 vets and 25 guardians (or 35/35 or 50/50) matched up as best we can taking into consideration the vet’s health, service branch, gender, location and other factors. Each vet/guardian pair constitutes a “team”.
- Squads: 5 teams make up a “squad”. The squad is led by the Squad Leader (typically the most experienced guardian in the squad)
- Medical Support: The medical support team for each mission consists of the Medical Team Leader 1 or 3 extra medical staff depending on the mission size. The medical team’s sole responsibility is to monitor the health and well being of flight participants
- Flight Staff: Each mission will be led by the Flight Director and the Mission XO. Other flight staff may include a mission photographer/videographer and other staff members
- Press/Media: Some flights will include a member of the press. Like everyone else except the vets, members of the press pay their own way.