Posted on Nov 11, 2015
To honor Veteran’s Day this week we would like to share the story of Mr. Thomas Hidalgo of Creston, CA, a veteran and client of Senior Helpers. Mr. Hidalgo began his military career in 1938, at the age of 18, by enlisting with the U.S. Army.
In 1942, he fought in World War II as an Operations Sergeant in charge of the firing data for his battalion. That year he would serve throughout Europe in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland and England. From D-Day in Normandy until the end of the war in 1945, Mr. Hidalgo did reconnaissance and surveying of certain areas before the troops were sent in. After World War II, Mr. Hidalgo remained committed to the military as a reservist and was again called to serve in the Korean War from 1951-1952. During the Vietnam War, he assisted the war effort by training troops. In 1977, Mr. Hidalgo retired from the military as a full colonel.
In September of this year, at age 95, Mr. Hidalgo was able to participate in a special recognition of his military service across three different wars, the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. The Honor Flight program pays to transport veterans to see the memorials created for them in Washington, D.C. at the National Mall.
Korean War Memorial
World War II Memorial
Top priority is given to the senior veterans - the survivors of World War II and the terminally ill. The mission of the Honor Flight is to “provide veterans with honor and closure.” Mr. Hidalgo was accompanied by his friend and fellow veteran Paul Lopez (pictured below left) and his son Robert Hidalgo (pictured below right).
Mr. Hidalgo had a wonderful experience in Washington, D.C. The veterans received standing ovations in the airports and a police escort from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. In addition to the Washington Memorial, he saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, visited Fort McHenry- the birthplace of the “Star Spangled Banner” and visited a Naval Academy.
This was a well-deserved and momentous event for Mr. Hidalgo and we at Senior Helpers hope this story helps bring recognition to his personal courage and tenacity, exemplified by his long military career. Congratulations Mr. Hidalgo, you and your fellow veterans are an inspiration!
*Note: thank you to the Hidalgo family for allowing us to share this story and photos.