AUSTIN (KXAN) – About 100 Vietnam War veterans returned home to Central Texas Saturday evening, after visiting our nation’s capital on behalf of Honor Flight.

It’s an experience they said was special for them, and the reception they received upon arrival back at Austin Bergstrom International Airport brought out an emotional response.

“It was my first time in D.C. I really enjoyed it, and I wish everybody could do it,” said Alerse Martinez, Vietnam veteran. “This, I think, is great. I wish we would have had this 50 years ago. It would have been different.”

They were met upstairs in the airport terminal’s west ticketing area with a welcome home greeting from a big crowd.

“How could you not want this? This is something. We never had it. None of these guys had it. That is why I guess it’s really important they had this,” said Bruch Hunesperger, another Vietnam veteran who was on the trip.

Trips on Honor Flight are made possible at no cost to the veterans through donations.

“As I was walking down the aisle here, I had tears streaming down my eyes because it’s the most overwhelming thing I have seen,” said Vietnam veteran Charlie Barton, another trip participant. “It’s just unbelievable –everything about it is top notch.”

Honor Flight Austin is a non-profit organization created to honor veterans by transporting them to visit and reflect at their war memorials. Honor Flight Austin serves veterans residing within Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Gillespie, Gonzales, Hays, Lee, Llano, Milam, Travis and Williamson counties.

To support Honor Flight Austin or to learn more about the organization go to

This was the fifth Honor Flight this year.