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Honored by the Honor Flight
Kathy Baker
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Honored by the Honor Flight

October was a special month for Bob Lorenz, a WWII Navy veteran who participated in the latest Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., with his daughter, Linda.

Honor Flight is an organization with a mission to take veterans on a trip to the nation’s capital to see the memorials that recognize and honor all those who have sacrificed to keep America free. Earl Morse, a retired Air Force captain from Springfield, Ohio, felt strongly that all veterans should have the opportunity to be honored for their service and with hard work and determination, his dream has become a reality for more than 160,000 veterans since the first trip in 2005.

Bob Lorenz served from 1944 to 1946 as a radio operator in the Atlantic theatre on the USS Pocono AGC16, the flagship for the Atlantic fleet. With a destroyer as an escort at all times, close to 1000 sailors called the Pocono home. Among them was Adm. Jonas H. Ingram, a four-star admiral.

A graduate of Hughes High School, Lorenz couldn’t wait to serve his country and chose the Navy when he was just 17-years-old. Like so many others, he left his family and girlfriend behind to help win the war and protect our freedom. Lorenz completed a six-month course at a radio school in Bainbridge, Massachusetts, which prepared him to accept and return messages that came from the mainland in five-letter codes. He vividly remembers the moment the war ended. Sitting at his radio desk, all of a sudden a message came through, not in code but in plain English. The need for codes was no longer necessary.

Back home, Lorenz married his sweetheart, Grace, and together they raised their daughter, Linda, in Delhi Township. He continued to serve and protect his community as a firefighter with the city of Cincinnati for 28 years and was a fire lieutenant at the time of his retirement.

The trip to Washington, D.C., with the Honor Flight was wonderful. Lorenz and Linda arrived at the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport at 6 a.m. and the plane left Cincinnati with 200 guests at 9:30 a.m. Everyone received T-shirts and all expenses were paid for the veterans. Once in DC, three busloads of veterans and their guardians were non-stop - visiting the war museums, the Lincoln Memorial and the tomb of the unknown soldiers. At the tomb, they witnessed the promotion of a naval officer from lieutenant commander to full commander. This commander made a special request to have the ceremony in front of the Honor Flight veterans as his invited guests.

The day was long, but most enjoyable. At the DC airport, groups bidding the veterans good-bye were dressed in 1940s style with period music playing and couples dancing. Arriving back at CVG around 10:30 p.m., one more impressive scene took place. As the veterans and guardians returned, there was a group of around 1800 waiting with signs, cheering them on and thanking them for their service.

“It was just amazing,” Lorenz said. “All ages were there to welcome us home. It was unbelievable that so many took the time to be with us that late at night.”
Lorenz lives in the Village at Bayley, where he is active in the community, enjoys woodworking and takes time to practice the fine art of playing the organ.

 

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