Bud Lyon takes the Honor FlightLeland “Bud” Lyon made his first trip to the nation’s Capitol earlier this month. He joined about 90 other World War II veterans on an Honor Flight to visit the memorial in Washington, D.C.
By: Jon Echternacht, Hudson Star-Observer
Leland “Bud” Lyon made his first trip to the nation’s Capitol earlier this month.
He joined about 90 other World War II veterans on an Honor Flight to visit the memorial that honors veterans of that conflict in Washington, D.C., as well as other significant monuments.
“It was a beautiful trip,” said the 91-year-old Lyon during a visit last week in his Hudson apartment. “I would go again. I’d like to stay two weeks and see more. Everyone should see it.”
The idea to get Lyon on the flight to D.C. came from his granddaughter, Kari Peterson of Green Bay. “She saw a story on the flight in the paper,” he said and she started to get things in order for her grandfather to make the trip.
“I just filled out the paperwork,” said Peterson during a telephone conversation.
“It was a fabulous trip, well deserved and long overdue,” she said. “They really treat those vets right. It’s a well-oiled machine.”
Peterson went along with her grandfather as a guardian. “There were 87 veterans on the flight and 157 total people,” she said. “They really take care of the older vets.”
The two flew out of La Crosse at 5 a.m. on Sept. 17, and didn’t get back until midnight. In between was a full day of sightseeing with stops at a number of monuments including those for the Korean War and Vietnam veterans and the Lincoln Memorial in addition to the World War II one.
Lyon served in the Army in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands during the war.
“I got drafted in October 1941. I thought I was going to serve one year then the war broke out in December. About half our company went ‘over the hill’ when the war broke out,” he said.
Lyon spent four years in the Army and served most of his time in Alaska. A fact often lost in history is the Japanese attacked Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island on June 3, 1942, from the air. A small Japanese force occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska.
Lyon said his job most of the time was driving a truck. “I was in anti-tanks,” he said, “but there were no tanks. I liked driving a truck and building roads much better than playing with guns.”
The Army established an air base on Adak Island in August 1942. “We worked 12-hour days building the runway. It was tough work,” he said.
Lyon drove a milk truck for Ed Mayer and Co. before he went into the Army and took up his old job when he returned. “It’s the only thing I knew how to do,” he said. He spent 38 years at it and became a partner in the business.
Lyon married June Casaw who lived on a farm seven miles east of Hudson in 1944. He was discharged from service in October 1945 from Ft. Benning, Ga.
He retired from the milk hauling business in 1982. His wife died in 2005. The couple raised three sons including Gary of Woodbury, Minn., Bob of Stillwater and Tom of Durand. Tom, by the way, is the father of Peterson.
The Honor Flight Network (HFN) website said by the end of the 2010 flying season in November, Honor Flight Network transported more than 63,000 veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam to see the memorials built to honor their suffering and sacrifice at no cost to the veteran.
For more information on Honor Flights, contact www.honorflight.org on the web.