Two Korean War veterans experienced the trip of a lifetime when traveling to Washington D.C. to see national monuments that honor veterans as part of the Indy Honor Flight.
Taylorsville resident Art Stines and Hope resident Howard Mize were among 90 veterans from Indiana who traveled to the nation’s capital Oct. 21, courtesy of Indy Honor Flight.
The nonprofit, based in Plainfield, invites World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans to experience seeing the Washington memorials in a whirlwind free trip, where they are saluted upon their arrival and return by well-wishers and family.
There was a lot of unexpected attention for the two veterans following their return, including thanks from individuals who expressed gratitude for their military service.
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Drafted into service
Art Stines entered the military when Uncle Sam tapped him on the shoulder.
The 85-year-old Bartholomew County resident grew up in neighboring Brown County, where he was raised with six other brothers and three sisters. He was drafted at age 20 into the U.S. Army in the summer of 1953 and spent 16 months on foreign soil during the Korean War, fought during the early 1950s.
Three of the seven Stines brothers served in Korea at the same time. Paul and Russell both enlisted.
Stines, who was responsible for artillery duties, said the war wasn’t something he enjoyed, but said he felt obligated to serve his country.
Stines, whose full name is Charles A. Stines, had gotten married to his wife Alice at age 19, a year before entering the service.
Wartime letters from his wife, as well as other immediate family, made a difference when they were worlds apart during his time in Korea.
“I used to get a letter from her every day,” he said of Alice, who died in October 2014 at age 81.
His other memories of the Korean War include being located by brother Paul, who was 40 to 50 miles south of where he was stationed during the conflict.
“I don’t know how he found me, but he did,” Stines said.
His other brother, Russell, also was fighting in Korea and was stationed in Japan when the war broke out, Stines said.
Like with other family members, Stines was also able to keep in touch with his brothers through letters, he said.
His return home on Feb. 3, 1955, was an emotional moment as he reunited with his wife and saw his 14-month-old daughter Debbie for the first time. She was born Dec. 25, 1953, when he was overseas, Stines said.
After his time in the military, he worked for Sarkes Tarzian, which made television tuners in Bloomington, before beginning a 32-year career with Cummins in 1956 as a machine operator.
Stines went on the honor flight with his daughter Vicki Jeffries, who also lives in Taylorsville.
Stines said he had visited Washington, D.C. before, but had never experienced having people approach him to thank him for his service.
His favorite parts of the trip were seeing the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the changing of the guard ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
A large crowd greeted the veterans when they returned to Indiana and arrived at Plainfield High School, he said.
“Every veteran should go,” he said. “I don’t see how it could be any better.”
“I had tears in my eyes all the time,” Jeffries said of the opportunity to accompany her father on the trip. “Words can’t really describe it. It was very much an honor to go on the trip with my dad.”
Hope man enlisted
Howard Mize, 86, served in the Marines from 1949 until 1958, when he received a medical discharge.
But when he enlisted for military service near his 18th birthday, he saw it as a chance to experience life outside his small-town home.
Mize started boot camp at Paris Island, South Carolina, before heading to Camp Pendleton in California, where he was training for overseas duty.
However, he never made it to Korea. With a job available in Japan for individuals with his rank, he went there for two years instead.
Mize was a sergeant overseeing motor transport officers at Camp Pendleton during his time in the service as well. He eventually came back to Indiana and worked at Cummins as a manufacturing engineer for about 25 years.
He married his wife, Clora Mize, in July 1956 at First Baptist Church of Hope. They marked their 60th wedding anniversary last year at the church.
Dennis Mize, also of Hope, said he enjoyed accompanying his father on the Honor Flight trip, especially the reception the veterans received.
“The welcoming we got in D.C. was amazing,” he said. “It was an honor.”
Several hundred people at the airport in Washington, D.C., lined up, cheered and thanked veterans for their service, which continued until their bus departure. The veterans’ return home to Plainfield High School also featured crowds with signs, the playing of bagpipes and each veteran’s name announced individually.
Military branch: U.S. Army
Years in service: 1953 to 1955
Family: Was married to his wife Alice for 62 years; two children, Debbie and Vicki; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren
Military branch: Marines
Years of service: 1949 to 1958
Family: Married to his wife Clora for 61 years; they have three children, Dennis, Alan and Karen; four grandsons; two great-granddaughters; and one step-great-granddaughter