COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - In September, 75 veterans from Southwest Florida will take part in the largest Collier County honor flight. WINK News first told you about MISSION Three-75 on Monday. We talked to one World War II veteran who will participate in the mission.
John Vagnetti joined the Navy in February 1945. Two days after being inducted, Vagnetti was on the USS Mendocino. "However, I never saw any real action because I boarded my ship. The Mendocino had just returned from the invasion of Okinawa, and 8 of us had shipped from Shoemaker, California to the ship to replace 8 casualties from the invasion of Okinawa."
Vagnetti was assigned to the engine room during his 2 years of duty. He was in San Francisco when the Japanese surrendered on April 14, 1945. "When I went back to the ship to resume our assignment, we go under the Golden Gate Bridge, and once we get out into the Pacific our division officer would read our orders. And the orders were to proceed to Japan he said, however if the Japanese haven't surrendered our orders were to invade Japan."
Now at 87-years old, Vagnetti will make his last mission to Washington D.C. For him, he thinks the most memorable part of the honor flight will be the World War II memorial. "It's very impressive and it's not like any other memorial in Washington, which there are many."
MISSION Three-75 will take flight on September 13, 2014.
The organization invites the public to be at the airport that night for the veterans homecoming.