A local World War II veteran’s body is scheduled to be transported to Michigan Wednesday after he died Sunday at the age of 95 while returning to San Diego from a visit to Washington.
Frank Manchel was flying back to San Diego after spending the weekend in the capitol courtesy of Honor Flight San Diego, a nonprofit that flies World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, to visit the memorials dedicated to the conflicts in which they fought. Manchel was a technical sergeant in the U.S. Army during the war.
Manchel collapsed and died during the return flight and could not be revived. According to Honor Flight San Diego, his body was draped in an American flag and two chaplains aboard the flight said prayers for him. Manchel was accompanied on the trip by his son, Bruce Manchel.
“Frank passed quickly and peacefully and the compassion and respect that was shown to our family will always be treasured,” Bruce Manchel said. “May he rest in peace as he is now with his other beloved son Jimmy.”
The two Manchels and the trip’s other veterans spent the weekend visiting various memorials, museums and historic sites. The trip served as a miniature family reunion, according to Bruce Manchel, as Frank was able to meet up with another son and his 93-year-old brother while they were in Washington, D.C.
American Airlines, which contracted with Honor Flight San Diego to fly the Manchels to Washington, will fly Frank Manchel’s body to Detroit for burial on Thursday. American will also fly the rest of the Manchel family to Michigan for free to allow them to attend the service, according to Honor Flight.
Honor Flight San Diego has flown more than 1,400 veterans to Washington since 2010. Manchel is the first to die on an Honor Flight San Diego trip, but six other veterans have died on flights that began in other cities around the country.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Manchel family,” said Honor Flight San Diego Chair Julie Brightwell. “It was our privilege to honor this true American hero during his final hours.”
— City News Service
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