Vet pair — 93, 92 — set for Honor Air D.C. trip

Two Park Place of West Knoxville veterans, Wilfred J. Slade, 93, and Larry Goulding, 92, are scheduled to take flight Wednesday morning, April 12, on HonorAir Knoxville’s 30th flight to Washington, D.C. from McGee-Tyson Airport.

HonorAir Knoxville program sends East Tennessee World War II and Korean and Vietnam conflict veterans on an all-expense-paid trip to the country’s capital to visit the the World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Marine and Air Force memorials. Slade and Goulding were among more than 100 set to make the trip.

“I think it will be fun, will be a nice experience,” said Slade, who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 through 1971, when he was an E-6 (tech sergeant).

“It will be nice,” said Goulding, 92, an SP3 (specialist third class) in the U.S. Army, having served from 1953 to 1955 in Germany.

“I’m proud of my country, and this is an opportunity to mix with others who have served about the same time, so it’s very unusual at this stage to be able to do so,” he said.

Additionally, “I hadn’t been to Washington in many years,” Goulding also added.

He recalled the last time he was there was at least 20 years ago. Born in England, Goulding came to the United States — Boston, Massachusetts — when he was 17. He later was drafted into the Army.

While Goulding was aware of the opportunity, Slade said, “It was kind of a surprise to me.

“I hadn’t heard about it, didn’t know anything about this until about a week ago,” he said.

“I put in an application for it, and found out about it … jumped in a hurry because they had a cancellation and put me in earlier than I ever thought of going.”

“I think it will be a nice, enjoyable trip,” he said Wednesday April 5.

Slade, who served in Korea, starting in 1959, for 13 months. At that time, he was an E-5 (staff sergeant).

Slade said the plans for the trip were made suddenly, but he understands those taking the trip will be visiting the war memorials, which he had never seen before.

He expects seeing them will be “awe inspiring.”