Wausau flys 28 World War II veterans to be honored in Washington
WAUSAU, Wis. — Mercer’s Joseph Aski and Norbert Brossmer will be among the honored passengers on a Never Forgotten Honor Flight to Washington D.C. Monday.
The Never Forgotten Honor Flight organization based in Wausau will fly 28 World War II veterans, 49 Korean War veterans and five Vietnam War veterans from central and northern Wisconsin to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials that honor their service on a one-day trip.
Aski is a World War II veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1946 in the Pacific Theater. He was a machinist mate in the engine room of a destroyer escort. He joined the Navy at age 17.
After the Navy, he returned to Wisconsin and finished his apprenticeship as a tool and die maker at Allis Chalmers before moving back to a millwork shop in West Allis where he grew up.
Aski moved to Mercer full time in 1990. He used to come fishing to the area with his father, and in 1976 he and his late wife bought some property Mercer. They had four children.
Aski said he’s unsure how he was selected for the Honor Flight.
“I have no idea. Somebody put my name in and then they called me and told me I was nominated to go,” Aski said. “I wasn’t really excited about it when it started, but now I’m getting kind of anxious to see all that.”
He has never been to Washington D.C. “My friends who have been on the Honor Flight have told me I’ll enjoy it.”
Brossmer served with the U.S. Army from 1951-1953 in Japan and Korea during the Korean War.
Among many assignments in the Army, he was a forward observer with an infantry company, and later became a squad leader in the S2 (or Intelligence) Section.
After the Army, Brossmer went to school at Illinois Technical Institute and became a manufacturing engineer, working as a tool and die maker in his native Chicago. He worked for a number of companies, including Allis Chalmers for 31 years in suburban Chicago.
His brother married a girl from Ironwood and her folks had property in Mercer. That brought Brossmer to visit the area and he later retired in Mercer.
Brossmer, 85, said he knows Aski, 89, through church. Brossmer is a deacon at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church in Mercer. He and his wife, Kathleen, have three children.
He, too, didn’t apply to be on the Honor Flight. Instead, after a conversation and reminiscence with a fellow veteran at a memorial service, that veteran told him he’d be hearing from the Honor Flight folks.
Brossmer received a card last June from the Honor Flight coordinator telling him he’d been selected and some forms to fill out came in January. Then came a confirmation, “and now, Sunday afternoon we’re taking Joe with us down to Wausau,” said Brossmer.
Brossmer said he’s been to Washington before and has a high appreciation for the Korean War Memorial there, calling it “powerful.”
Flight takes off Monday
This is the organization’s 19th flight and the fifth anniversary since the first Never Forgotten Honor Flight. Sixty-seven guardians will accompany the vets on the one-day round trip that departs Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee at 7 a.m. and is scheduled to return at approximately 10 p.m. The public is invited to the airport to welcome the veterans home Monday night, and Honor Flight officials recommend arriving no later than 8:30 p.m.
The Monday flight is being called, “The Loyd S. Woller Memorial Honor Flight” in memory of Woller who passed away just prior to the first flight five years ago. Woller asked his family to fund a future flight, and last fall his family contributed $70,000 to honor his request. Woller served at the end of World War II in Germany.
After Monday’s trip, the Never Forgotten Honor Flight will have taken 1,748 veterans to Washington, D.C. Three more trips are scheduled this year in May, September and October.
Veterans receive a free round-trip flight, and guardians pay $500 for the opportunity to accompany one or two veterans on the trip.
North Central Wisconsin’s Never Forgotten Honor Flight hub is based in Wausau and serves veterans in Marathon, Portage, Wood, Taylor, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Iron, Barron, Price and Rusk counties. It is the nation’s 77th regional hub and one of six Wisconsin Honor Flight hubs.
For more information, visit neverforgottenhonorflight.org or call 715-573-8519.