Honor flight San Diego founder selected to lead national honor flight network

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The founder of Honor Flight San Diego — an organization that takes World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C. — has been named president and chairman of the National Honor Flight Network, it was announced Monday.

David Smith, who began operating the San Diego Honor Flight hub in 2010, has taken more than 1,400 veterans on their Honor Flight.

“I am very honored to be selected as president and chairman,” he said. “My first priority is to get our hubs flying again — when it is safe to do so — and get our nation’s heroes on their Honor Flight.”

Smith has been a board member of the national network for seven years. He will lead the organization’s 130 hubs as they make plans to restart travel to Washington, D.C., with military veterans.

Trips to Washington, D.C., through Honor Flight were canceled nationwide in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2021, flights are postponed through Aug. 15.

Smith got involved in the organization when he took his World War II U.S. Marine Corps veteran father, Art Smith, on a flight in 2009. Seeing the impact the trip had on his dad, Smith told the national network he wanted to volunteer with the San Diego hub and was told there was none.

“There will be now,” Smith recalls saying.

Honor Flight San Diego is planning for an October flight, pending any restrictions. The group hopes to take about 90 WWII and Korean War veterans on the three-day trip.

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