We appreciate your willingness of volunteering your time and talents to support our heroes special trips to visit the memorials built in their honor. This special time of celebration of our veterans will have lasting memories on them for years to come. Being a volunteer is fun, educational but most importantly – fulfilling as you are helping to give these heroes the welcome many of them never got when they came home from their service time.
Here are some of the ways you can help:
Opportunities at Airports
Greeters at the airport – one fulfilling opportunity is to have greeters at the airport when the Honor Flight arrives. Many of us assume that our veterans had a warm welcome when they arrived home from the battle front. That may have been the case for returning GIs from World War II. It certainly was not the case for Vietnam veterans. Many have told us that they didn’t receive ANY welcome home and thus thought that they have been forgotten and were not appreciated.
After a fulfilling and tiring day, greeting the Veterans as they come back to the airport is also appreciated and rewarding.
Greeters’ basic role is to meet, greet, and thank our Veterans. The more smiling faces in the crowd to let them know — WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN YOUR SACRIFICE — the better! With over 130 hubs arriving at the three area airports this year, there are plenty of opportunities to be a greeter. The time commitment for a greeting can vary from 2-4 hours; as some days there are multiple flights arriving during the same time period. Greeters are asked to wear patriotic clothing, and are welcome to bring banners, flags, and smiles. For more specific information on greeting at one of the area airports, including the schedule of hubs arriving at that airport, please visit each airport’s link.
Ground Crew at the airport – if you’d like to become more involved than just a greeter, each airport has a volunteer Honor Flight ground crew that actively assists the hubs as they make their way from the gate to the buses, and again when they return to the airport and make their way from the buses to the gate. The ground crew is directed by a volunteer Honor Flight Airport Ground Crew coordinator. Typical assistance includes directing the hubs through the terminal as they navigate the turns to the buses, assisting at the elevators and escalators as needed, monitoring bathrooms, loading wheelchairs and luggage on buses, and positioning greeters in a receiving line. Opportunities are available for early-risers for arrivals, some mid-day arrivals or departures, or evening departures. Time commitment is typically 2-4 hours per arrival or departure, depending on the number of flights and number of Veterans on the trip.
For additional information on becoming a volunteer ground crew member, please visit the applicable airport link below.
Volunteering Opportunities at Memorials
WWII Memorial – even though many hubs now fly Vietnam Veterans, most hubs will stop at the WWII Memorial, the “Jewel of the Mall.” Greeting hubs as they disembark from their buses at the bus parking area and walk through the Pacific Arch into the Memorial is a rewarding experience. The more smiling faces in the crowd to let them know — WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN YOUR SACRIFICE — the better! On “Super Saturdays,” there may be as many as 15 hubs arriving at the WWII Memorial at different times during the day.
To greet at the WWII Memorial, just show up at times convenient for you! Bring flags, banners, and your smiles and stay as long as you can. To see the schedule of visits by hubs to the WWII Memorial on our SCHEDULE page. Please keep in mind the times listed for visiting the WWII Memorial are provided by the hubs, and may change on trip day due to unforeseen schedule changes.
The best way to get to the WWII Memorial is metro or public transportation. Parking at the WWII Memorial is limited.
Korean/Vietnam Memorials – hubs will visit these two Memorials in the same stop, and Veterans can visit each at their leisure during time frames provided. Hubs will be directed to park in various places, so the best place to greet these Veterans is at the Memorials rather than where the buses park. The more smiling faces in the crowd to let them know — WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN YOUR SACRIFICE — the better!
To greet at the Korean or Vietnam Memorials, just show up at times convenient for you! Bring flags, banners, and your smiles and stay as long as you can. To see the schedule of visits by hubs to the WWII Memorial on our SCHEDULE page. Please keep in mind the times listed for visiting these Memorials are provided by the hubs, and may change on trip day due to unforeseen schedule changes.
The best way to get to the Korean and Vietnam Memorials is metro or public transportation. Street parking around these two Memorials is limited.
Guardian & Floater Opportunities
Every Veteran participating in an Honor Flight is assigned a Guardian for the day. Most often, the Guardian is a family member, friend, or volunteer from the Veteran’s home city who accompanies the Veteran on the plane. Occasionally, however, some Honor Flight hubs request some DC-based Guardians to accompany Veterans throughout their day here.
Serving as a DC-based Guardian is a rewarding experience and a great responsibility. Guardians are expected to meet the Honor Flight at the airport gate or other DC-based originating point upon arrival, spend the entire day with their assigned Veteran on the bus and at every stop along the way, and return with the group to the gate for departure. From the moment the Veterans are in our hands until we return them to their loved ones in the evening, DC-based Guardians will be asked to treat these heroes as if they are family and ensure that every Veteran has a safe, memorable, and rewarding experience.
Some Honor Flight hubs request volunteers to serve as Floaters. A Floater functions much in the same way as a Guardian; however, he or she is not assigned to one specific Veteran. They help ensure the safety and efficient movement of the group as a whole. Please be advised that if you volunteer as a Guardian, you might be asked to serve as a Floater instead, depending on the needs of the hub.
Qualifications of Guardians/Floaters:
- Complete a release and fitness for duty forms, attesting that you:
- Are physically capable to performing the essential safety function of the Guardian role:
- Able to push a Veteran in a wheelchair for a minimum of one hour at a time, up to 3-5 total miles per days, including up and down inclines and in all kinds of weather (cold, heat, rain)
- Assist Veterans up and down bus stairs
- Assist Veterans getting in/out of seats and wheelchairs
- Are capable of independent communication with Veterans, Hub staff and other
- Do not have any limiting physical strength or agility, etc., and do not require use of canes, crutches, walkers, slings, etc.
- Live in the DC area and have own transportation to meeting location (vehicle, public transportation)
- Commit to staying throughout the entirety of the hub’s trip in DC
- Be able to commit to a date and not have other responsibilities (job, home) that might require a last-minute cancellation
- Must be attentive to the surroundings and the location and needs of all the Veterans without distraction.
There are three different DC-Guardian programs for DC-based guardians.
Guardians serving DCA or BWI – for more information on applying as a Guardian to meet at DCA or BWI (or in some cases a nearly hotel), please email firstname.lastname@example.org. All interested guardians must attend an in-person training orientation session before being allowed to serve.
Guardians serving IAD – the majority of DC-based Guardian requests come from hubs arriving at IAD on a weekday. Guardians will meet at IAD. Free parking is available at IAD for Guardians. Guardians will attend an in-person safety orientation the morning of the flight. For more information on applying as a DC-based guardians serving IAD, please email email@example.com.
Guardians serving in Maryland or Delaware – do you live closer to the Maryland or Delaware areas? The Capital Region Honor Flight serves Veterans in these areas, and has opportunities for DC-based guardians on upcoming missions. The next scheduled trip is Oct 3, 2023 originating from Calvert County, MD with hopes of a Delaware trip in spring of 2024. To apply as a DC-based Guardian serving Capital Region Honor Flight, CLICK HERE. For additional information about Capital Region Honor Flight, visit their website at or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteering Opportunities for Groups
There are numerous ways that groups, including corporations, non-profits, school groups, civic groups, etc. can volunteer with Honor Flights.
Adopt-an-Honor-Flight – spend the day, or part of your corporate community service day, serving Veterans! Adopt-an-Honor-Flight day is customized so that multiple employees can serve at different times / locations throughout the day. Co-branding of the Honor Flight logo can be arranged for your t-shirts for this service opportunity. For more information on Adopt-an-Honor-Flight day.
Greeting at the airport – Veterans love groups attending the arrival or departure at the airports! The Veterans especially love to see our youth groups when they first step off the plane. Bus parking can be accommodated. To find a date, location and time that works for your group, please see the schedule on our homepage.
Greeting at the Memorials – bringing a group to greet at the WWII Memorial is easy! Just show up! The schedule of hubs’ visits to the WWII Memorial is listed on our main website. The best way to get to the WWII Memorial is by metro or public transportation.
Greeting at local hotel – some hubs spend one or two nights while on their Honor Flight trip. Occasionally, there are opportunities for groups to meet and greet a hub as they arrive at their hotel. Some hubs appreciate assistance unloading luggage, transporting it to the Veterans’ rooms and in some cases, help serve a meal. Most hotels are in close vicinity to one of the three area airports. If your group might be interested in this opportunity, please email email@example.com.
Many hubs enjoy Military Personnel in uniform to serve as guardians or “ride-a-longs” while in DC. Military Guardian/Escort or Floater support is the greatest honor a military member can provide to our fellow Veterans. What a perfect manner in which to thank those veterans who have gone before us for the liberties and freedoms we so enjoy today.
Guardian duty consist of spending the day with an assigned Veteran to ensure their safety and enjoyment of their day of honor. “Ride-a-longs” are not assigned a Veteran, but are encouraged to mingle with all the Veterans throughout the day while touring their Memorials.
Active duty military guardians and “Ride-a-longs” are asked to be in military uniform and will meet the flights at the arriving airport (BWI, DCA or IAD), board the bus to spend the day with the hub and Veterans, and then return to the airport for the departure. It is a magnificent way in which to spend a day! Meals, drinks and parking are typically provided.
Wear the uniform of your choice (seek command approval if in doubt).
If your unit would like to serve in either of these capacities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Honor Flight Airport Ground Crew member is happy to certify your hours for work, school, or religious credits for attending an Honor Flight greeting at the airport. The Ground Crew does not provide the form, so please bring your pre-printed form with you and ask either the lead ground crew volunteer at the greeting or someone wearing a bright yellow Honor Flight t-shirt to certify your form for volunteer hours.
PLEASE NOTE: We will ONLY certify hours DURING the event. We do not certify hours or participation after the event has passed — there are too many volunteers to keep track of. No exceptions will be made.
Some schools or community groups use an online platform to certify hours. If your group uses one of these platforms to certify hours after the event, please contact the applicable Honor Flight Ground Crew Coordinator prior to the date you will be attending.
Depending on the requirements from your side, your gate access pass and/or parking receipt could also serve as verification of 2 or 3 hours service, depending on the day or flight.
Volunteer tour guides enhance the Veterans’ experience in DC by providing the history, significance and information about the stops on the trip, as well as pointing out other major DC landmarks along the route. Volunteer Honor Flight tour guides must commit to the entire time the hub is in town; meeting the hub at their arriving airport / hotel through their return to the airport/hotel. Tour guides provide information while the bus is traveling from site to site; tour guides make themselves available at each stop, but a guided tour of the sites is not involved. Many trips are a single-day, but some trips are 2-3 days.
Our Honor Flight tour guides come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, including some professional tour guides who donate their time to Honor Flights. Interested Honor Flight tour guides should have a passion for serving Veterans, comfortable at public speaking, have a basic knowledge of war memorials and other significance memorials and building on a typical Honor Flight route, the ability to engage with an audience, and the ability to take instruction from the hub’s leadership.
All interested volunteer tour guides must complete a ZOOM training before serving on an Honor Flight. DC-based tour guides are typically provided meals, water, and validated parking at the airport. Tour guides can specify which airports they can serve.
For more information about becoming an Honor Flight tour guide please email email@example.com