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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Two UA military veterans chosen to accompany other veterans on Honor Flight

Courtesy of Tim Ashcraft

Courtesy of Tim Ashcraft

Two UA student veterans, Sean Rambaran and Timothy Ashcraft, served on an Honor Flight by accompanying World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit memorials in honor of past military service.

According to UANews, Rambaran and Ashcraft, both Army veterans, were selected through a series of applications and evaluations to go on the Honor Flight trip on Oct. 17 to 19. Honor Flight Southern Arizona helped sponsor and fund their trip to the capital.

Honor Flight is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a free trip of honor for veterans.

“For our UA students who have served and continue to serve, the opportunity to engage veterans from previous wars and conflicts as guardians on an Honor Flight to D.C. is a tremendous opportunity for engagement,” Cody Nicholls, assistant dean for Veterans Education and Transition Services, said in an article by UANews. “Service above self is ingrained in those of us who serve and have served in the military.”

Nicholls said the idea for Honor Flight through the UA is to connect the new generation of military and veteran students with the generation that served our country before them. He said all applicants and honorees must be aware that they are a guardian for the veterans they will meet alongside the student veterans that are selected.

UANews said Rambaran enlisted in the Army in 2010 and was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, where he was a member of a military intelligence unit. Once he returned to Arizona, he enlisted in the Arizona Army National Guard and will graduate from the UA in December with a political science degree.

Ashcraft, a Tucsonan, said he was deployed twice to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. He served as a platoon leader in 2010 and then as a company commander in 2013. He is an aerospace engineering graduate student at the UA through the Army’s Advanced Civil Schooling program. After graduation, he will serve as an instructor at West Point in the civil and mechanical engineering department for three years.

“I was especially excited about this flight and trip because it was considered a ‘changing of the guard.’ For the first time, there was more Korea-war era veterans than WWII veterans, which meant, while they still honor and give priority to the WWII veterans, they are continuing the tradition throughout all wars for all veterans that desire to go,” Ashcraft said. “I am honored to have been the guardian for veteran William Joynt, from the Korean-war era in 1952 to 1954.”

According to Honor Flight Southern Arizona, guardians play a large role during an Honor Flight to ensure that every veteran has a safe honoring experience. Applications to become a guardian must be submitted about eight weeks prior to the event. Guardians other than student veterans pay about $1,000 to attend the Washington, D.C., event and participate in the life changing experience.

Nicholls said the next possible trip for UA student veterans will be during the spring semester of 2016.

“I think all student veterans should be able to go to Washington D.C., to be honored for their service,” said Rochelle Reiss, a pre-physiology sophomore. “I feel as if student veterans are lost in the shuffle of campus life and should be appreciated more on campus.”

Follow Gabriella Vukelic on Twitter.

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